Leadership Dilemma: Only 5% of CEOs Trust Their Organizational Adaptability

We are moving from a world of problems to a world of continuous dilemmas.

Bob Johansen, Institute for the Future


Leadership Dilemma: State of Organizations 2023

The future of work, like a kaleidoscope, is ever-evolving and filled with dazzling possibilities. As CEOs and leaders, we are constantly challenged to reimagine our strategies, question our assumptions, and transform our organizations to embrace this dynamic landscape.

McKinsey’s latest research – “The State of Organizations 2023″ – offers a powerful peek into what is keeping CEOs awake at night. This groundbreaking report is not just a commentary on the shifting paradigms we’re experiencing. It’s a clarion call for leaders worldwide to adopt innovative approaches and forward-thinking strategies, offering actionable insights to tackle the challenges head-on.

Over 2,500 business leaders around the globe participated. The results?

A startling revelation – only half of the respondents believe their organizations are well-equipped to anticipate and react to external disruptions. A significant two-thirds view their establishments as entangled in the webs of complexity and inefficiency.

But don’t let these numbers deter you. Instead, consider them a rally to action, a wake-up call to leverage innovative tools such as the AQPlus Growth Mindset, Adaptability Quotient (AQai), and the WHY operating System (WHYos) framework.

In this article, I delve into 5 of these 10 trends that are top of mind with the leaders we speak and work with, how you can employ AQ, Growth Mindset, and the WHYos to successfully navigate these challenges. Let’s turn these trends into opportunities and future-proof our organizations. Are you ready to lead the change? Let’s dive in!



Five Organizational Trends: These Stats Will Blow Your Mind!

Leaders and managers, the future of work is unfolding before us, and it’s nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. The insightful McKinsey report, “State of Organizations 2023,” provides us with a roadmap. I urge you to read the full article but here are the top five trends that I feel demand your focused attention and action, and how tools like AQPlus Growth Mindset, Adaptability Quotient (AQ), and the WHYos framework can help us navigate these trends successfully.


1. Closing the Capability Chasm: Building a Future-Ready Organization

Only 5% of leaders believe their organizations possess the necessary capabilities to align with their strategies. A growth mindset promotes a culture of continuous learning and a desire to reskill and upskill, thereby reducing the capability chasm. A high Adaptability Quotient enables swift responses to evolving and disruptive trends, ensuring your teams are always anticipating and adjusting to the next curveball thrown their way.

Tip: Leverage AQai’s ACE model to pinpoint your organization’s change readiness and your workforce’s capacity to adapt.

“Only 5% of leaders believe their organizations possess the necessary capabilities to align with their strategies.


2. Hybrid Work Models: Striking the Right Balance

As 90% of organizations adopt flexible work models, an adaptable mindset has never been more essential. An AQPlus Growth Mindset encourages employees to embrace change, learn new tools, and develop efficient routines for remote and in-person work.

Tip: Use the AQai to ensure your managers and your employees have the ability to adapt and perform at the highest level no matter where they work, addressing why certain tasks are best performed in-person or remotely, how to facilitate such arrangements, and what you aim to achieve with this flexibility.



3. Employee Value Proposition: Making Retention Personal

With 39% of employees considering a career move in the next few months, understanding and addressing individual needs is crucial. The WHYos framework guides you in understanding each team member’s motivations (WHY), skills and experience (HOW), and desired outcomes (WHAT), aiding in a personalized employee value proposition.

Tip: Help your employees and teams discover and articulate their WHY, HOW, and WHAT. Create a culture where you don’t just fit people to jobs, but align them with their purpose so they can fulfill the organization’s mission.

39% of employees considering a career move in the next few months.


4. Talent Management: The Perfect Match

Did you know that the highest performers in a role are 800% more productive than average performers in the same role? In a time when the labor supply outlook is bleak, ensuring that every employee is given the opportunity to excel is more important than ever.

Currently, 20-30% of critical roles are not optimally filled. Placing the right talent in high-value roles is key, and this starts with understanding whether average performance is due to a skills gap or a motivation gap. A growth mindset encourages a culture of continuous learning and skill enhancement while knowing each employee’s WHY-HOW-WHAT is essential.

Tip: Enhance your team’s capacity to adapt to ensure they can adapt to evolving job requirements and seize new opportunities as they arise. Additionally, apply the WHY-HOW-WHAT (WHYos) framework to understand if performance gaps are due to skills or motivation, and design interventions accordingly.

20-30% of critical roles are not optimally filled.


5. Mental Health and Well-being: A Proactive Investment, Not a Reactive Fix

One of the stark revelations from our research is the persisting challenge of mental health and well-being. Although nine out of ten organizations globally offer some form of well-being program, global health, and well-being scores are still disappointingly low.

Employees facing mental health challenges are four times more likely to leave the organization, signaling a pressing need for us to address this issue head-on. It’s time we moved beyond treating the symptoms with one-off or incremental fixes. Instead, let’s be proactive and commit to systematically addressing the underlying causes of mental health and well-being challenges.

The AQPlus Growth Mindset offers a unique perspective to approach this challenge. By fostering resilience, grit, self-awareness, and personal growth, you can empower your team members to thrive in the face of adversity, better manage work stress, and find ways to maintain a work-life balance.

Tip: Leverage the AQai and WHYos frameworks to assess the current state of mental health and well-being initiatives in your organization. Identify why mental health is a priority, how to implement effective interventions, and what outcomes you aim to achieve. Above all, remember, prioritizing mental health is not just about reducing attrition—it’s about promoting a vibrant, healthy, and productive work environment.

In conclusion, leaders, it’s time to power up your organization’s AQ, Growth Mindset, and WHYos. Let’s navigate these evolving trends, future-proof our organizations, and lead your teams into a prosperous, exciting future.

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First things first: what does grit even mean? You’ve probably heard the advice “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” attributed to coach Kunte Rockne. That quote captures the essence of grit.  The character trait of grit often refers to passion, the consistency of interest, and perseverance, the ability to endure tough times.

For instance, we’ve all experienced setbacks. They could range from struggling to learn a new skill, recovering from an injury, losing a job, or even bankruptcy.

What Does Grit Look Like?

People with high levels of Grit are confident in achieving long-term goals. They are often described as ‘determined’ and ‘hard workers’. No-pain-no-gain might be the grit motto. Gritty people tend to keep going until the work is done. They take pride in finishing what they start. Their mental focus and emotional stamina are very high. They don’t let short-term gains, negative feedback, or hectic schedules deter them. People with high grit are not discouraged easily; they see setbacks and obstacles as challenges that can be overcome with commitment and hard work. Grit, however, is not always a good thing. Gritty people are often so focused on their goals that they get blinded-sided by outside influences and have blind spots when it comes to alternative ideas. 

People with low levels of grit give up quickly. Setbacks and obstacles easily discourage them. When change happens they can find it difficult to stay on course with long-term goals. They flee at the first sign of trouble and often blame others. They start a lot of projects but get discouraged easily. 

How Grit Can Help Your Business

Why is grit something you need to look for when hiring and developing employees? The future of work is full of opportunity but the journey will be anything but certain. Perseverance and passion will be needed in abundance. These are some scenarios where employees with grit become a beneficial trait for your company.

They Understand That Good Things Take Time

Millennials have often been criticized for their need for instant gratification. While it might be true for some of them, grit had to be part of this generation’s makeup. Now in their 30s and 40s, they have endured school shootings, 9/11 terrorism, and the Great Recession…and they are now growing and thriving. It’s only human to get frustrated when we don’t see the instant rewards from our work. Contributing to a project day in and day out, and not getting recognition or confronting bureaucratic idiocy, is disheartening. Many employees may be tempted to just quit.

If your employee has grit, however, they know good things take time. Setbacks are not failures, but part of the journey.  When personal interests align with goals, it’s easier to persevere and feel that your efforts will be rewarded. People with grit stay and push through.