Leaders set the tone for their organizations. As a leader, are you preparing your organization to be successful in the future? Or are there preconceived notions that you bring to the table that are clouding your ability to set your team up for success?
My first job after graduate school was as a business systems analyst for a now-defunct company. I worked there in the late 1990’s during the dot-com boom, analyzing root causes and customer impacts of Information Technology (IT) issues. When I was on call to support a computer system, I carried a pager that informed me when a problem occurred. The pages invariably happened at 3 or 4 AM, and I had to drive into the data center and fix the jobs on the server. Once everything was running properly, I would drive home, shower, get dressed, and return to the office for my day at work. As was the norm at the time, I did not have the technology to be able to use a laptop to remotely access the servers and resolve the issue from home. I had to get in my car to go manually fix the error.
Today, thankfully, the majority of IT issues can be resolved from a computer (or even a smartphone) outside of a physical data center. Employees in the 21st century expect to have the proper tools to be able to do their jobs from wherever they are located. In fact, work-at-home jobs are a viable option in a growing number of industries.
Though many jobs can be done remotely, not all executives have adapted their thinking. In a recent conversation, a colleague mentioned to me that her Chief Executive Officer (CEO) came from a banking background. This gentleman used to run a bank branch wherein business was done face-to-face with customers who walked in the door or drove through the drive-through. Though he is now the CEO of a division of a large corporation, he still sets a culture that expects business to be done in-person. He does not allow telecommuting, and in fact, when severe weather prevents people from making it into the office and they opt to work from home, he does not credit them with getting any work done. Though the tools to do jobs have evolved over the years, based on his background, this CEO has created a culture where work is only recognized when it is done in person.
Leaders set the tone for their organizations. Is the culture you have created appropriate to today’s work environment, or is it outdated? And if your organization truly wants–or needs–to change, are you ready to eliminate these preconceived notions to set a new tone and direction for your team?