12 Characteristics of Cultural Shift in 21st-Century Businesses

This year, Better, Smarter, Richer and Solo Pro Radio have decided to focus on encore entrepreneurs.  To kick things off, we are presenting a three-part special on what encores need to know about recent changes in business culture before launching their “second act.” This is a conversation between BSR’s own Jackie B. Peterson and “business doctor” Doug Lundrigan of Lighthouse Business Solutions.  Last week, they started discussing the 12 characteristics of cultural shift in 21st-century businesses.  They’ll continue the conversation this week, but in case you want to do some homework in the meantime, here are all 12:

1. Shared vision and alignment throughout the org; everyone’s efforts are focused on the big picture.

2. Flat organizations made up of a team of leaders who are able to take charge of their own work and schedule to meet the needs of the organization; “leading from the balcony.”

3. Transparency, so everyone understands why and how we add value to the customer; younger generations won’t follow blindly, and they want to know WHY they’re doing something, and how it fits into the big picture.

4. High trust, engagement and collaboration are all necessary traits to empower people to bring their whole heart and mind to the workplace.

5. Relationship-centered: This is closely linked to trust. We like to work and do business with people we know, trust, and have a relationship with. People are more valuable that profits.

6. Resilience: The workplace is changing rapidly, and people are changing jobs or changing roles within companies. This can cause us a lot of stress, anxiety, and hardship. We have to be able to cope effectively in those situations in order to survive.

7. Flexibility is closely related to resilience. We have to adapt to the demands of the market, including title, work hours, work location, team membership, lines of authority, able to take charge and do the right thing

8. Have FUN! Making the workplace fun and happy, a place where people want to be and where they feel comfortable being themselves. This fosters creativity and finding solutions to complex problems. Research shows that happy people are more creative and productive and have fewer sick days than unhappy people.

9. E-tools fluency: This almost goes without saying. Very few jobs these days don’t require some level of proficiency with computers and technology. It becomes extremely important when we’re talking about a solopreneur starting a business, or working with younger generations. Using electronic devices and social media appropriately and effectively is necessary, whether we like it or not.

10. Entrepreneurship and innovation are similar to what we mentioned earlier about resilience and flexibility: innovative thought processes are needed in order to fill new market needs as they evolve. This is happening at lightning speed.

11. Speed is necessary in order to compete in a rapidly changing marketplace with technology advances. We no longer have the luxury of taking weeks, months, or even years to make decisions about pursuing opportunities. We have to act very quickly to before things change again.

12. Self-Branding is critical; you ARE your brand (your portfolio of experience and learning that gets hired for a particular project or to accomplish a particular outcome.) This is an emerging characteristic and growing in importance.