Crisis and disruption can lead to innovation

Feb 01, 2021
Crisis and disruption can lead to innovation rosinski Mon, 02/01/2021 - 11:15 Heidi Robertson, Group Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Employer Brand at CEMS Corporate Partner ABB reflects on how the pandemic has led to a strengthening in trust-based leadership, where empathy, transparency and communication are critical components. Heidi’s observations and experiences fed into CEMS guide to ‘Leadership in a Post Covid-19 World’. News
Heidi Robertson, Group Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Employer Brand at CEMS Corporate Partner ABB

The findings of the recent CEMS survey, as well as the outcome of the panel discussion, are very much in line with my predictions in terms of how organisations must adapt to the new or even next normal. Both structural and behavioural patterns will be amended permanently. Both people and organisations have had to adapt overnight to remote working with a focus on safety of people and management of running business operations.

A sudden shift

This sudden shift has required a strengthening in trust-based leadership, where empathy, transparency and communication are critical components. It is less about control, more about motivation, inspiration and connection. People must feel motivated, empowered and inspired to be self-driven and, crucially, trust must run two-ways.

Company values and culture become increasingly important - the glue that ties the employees together - when the working models are changing, and the environment is in constant flux and of unstable character. If managed well, this crisis can lead to an even stronger unity and feeling of belonging, as a sense of urgency drives and pulls the workforce in the same direction.

Suddenly the hierarchical levels seem slightly evened out and the talent pool is not limited to the ones who are mobile, or in a geographical proximity. Physical presence is not the sole key factor of successful delivery and performance. The pandemic has also underlined and strengthened the findings of historical research on the definition of successful leadership - linked to empowerment, empathy, accountability and trust. Micro-management, monitoring and control belong to the past. 

Emerging stronger

I believe that the crisis has certainly led to a stronger unity within ABB. Diversity and inclusion has never been higher on the agenda at all levels: our people are mobilizing, new Employee Resource Groups have been established, mentor programs are growing, and panels are set up across regions and timelines. The resilience shown under these circumstances has been truly impressive.

History and research tell us that crisis and disruption lead to innovation, and I believe that this is what we will find this time: new ways of working, collaborating, interacting and doing business.

 

For more insights from the CEMS Global Alliance on Leadership in a Post Covid-19 World, visit:  https://cems.org/news-events/media-centre/press-center


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