She featured as a speaker at the Wired for Wonder conference this week, and B&T was lucky to get some one-on-one time with Holly Ransom, CEO of disruption-focused consultancy Emergent.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Aussie businesses in regard to executing change within their organisations?
Getting cut-through with their communication, so people appreciate why change is necessary and how they are expected to play their part in producing the result. Also, managing to break large-scale change down into actionable steps that feel achievable.
It seems a lot of businesses (particularly bigger, more traditional ones) both in Australia and abroad are still struggling to shake the silo mentality. Why is that and how can this be changed?
Because we comfortably exist in siloes – ‘like’ feels comfortable around ‘like’ and there’s a habitual nature to who we work with/talk to that’s a part of the operating rhythm of our organisations. To break this down, we need to lead by our own personal example – make a meaningful commitment (perhaps once or twice a week) to have a coffee with someone who’s outside your silo (maybe someone from a different generation, a customer perspective, a completely different industry) and invite their opinion on something you’re working on. If we start to embrace diverse people and diverse opinions in the way we operate as individuals, that will infuse the way we lead our teams. This is why I believe opportunities like Wired for Wonder help us break through these siloes and challenge how we think, problem solve, and lead.
What does a good modern leader look like in the business world?
Strong vision, strong values (that they live, not just talk about), and a leadership style that empowers people and gives them autonomy.
What are brands getting wrong when it comes to engaging and influencing consumers in the age of short attention spans? What are your tips for improving in this area?
We’ve moved away from giving our attention to ‘authority’ to ‘authenticity’, from the ‘rational’ to the ‘emotional’ and from ‘persuaders’ to ‘engagers’ – it’s a totally new domain. The importance of understanding who you’re talking to and where and how they want to be reached has never been more important.
What’s the secret to igniting and sustaining workplace innovation?
Committed leaders, an inspiring purpose (and alignment behind it) and a commitment to celebrate the wins along the way.