What Quality Transforms Business in the Cognitive Age?

What Quality Will Transform Your Business in the Cognitive Age?What Quality Will Transform Your Business in the Cognitive Age?

What role do values have in growing your organization in the cognitive age? What quality is critical to your business success? We live in a world where business seems to be changing on an almost hourly basis. So what values are critical to build a more flexible organization? I spent last week talking with many leaders from around the world at IBM’s World of Watson.

I asked those leaders I met what qualities they look for in their team members. After I heard what they had to say I turned the tables and asked what qualities they look for in who they enjoy working for. It wasn’t a surprise they said they were looking for similar traits in their potential leaders. Let’s see if I can share what qualities make a strong leader in the cognitive age and into the predictive age.

Yesterday we talked about how I believe we are moving into a time when organizations will be recruiting and developing high performing teams and team members.  Many of my clients are early adopters to this new way of doing business. I believe that the most successful organizations, no matter what their size, will be about the quality and agility of the teams they create.

In my role as executive recruiter, I’m seeing significant time invested in understanding more about the people they hire and develop over the coming years. Many companies are investing in cognitive tools that help them better understand who they are really hiring. They then invest significant money to onboard, develop, and engage their key team members.

IBM Watson is empowering employers to find the best people for their teams. I’ll share what qualities these leaders have in common. I will also share many new ideas I learned at World of Watson from the people side of business.  Here’s why I believe the cognitive and the predictive age will focus more on finding, developing, and retaining your best team members. Many surveys involving my senior level clients continue to say it’s more about the people than technology. As of today, I’ll be telling my clients it’s both. If you choose only one you will fail in the future. The future will be here sooner than you think.

The first quality your best team members must have is the ability to be more creative and innovative. The future belongs to people who are able to look at the same markets and see different things. Not only can they see risk and opportunities, but they are biased towards taking action.

They must be able to communicate what they see to their many stakeholders inside and outside their organizations. New cognitive technologies will help them tell and visualize a better story. More about these capabilities in a future blogs.

The second quality your best team members must have is to know how to leverage the impact of the advisors and consultants.  More virtual teams and more fluid organizations mean that your team members need to collaborate with many different people at different times. Want better work from your best consultants?  Help them help you. It’s critical to have a clear mission and vision if you hope share it with others.

While talking about advisors, you will see an increasing use of technology to help team members become more productive collaborators. Some of your best advisors will become augmented intelligence systems. That’s a mouthful, but it means that we will be able to tap into increasingly more information to help you manage your business.

Your best team members will learn to maximize this information while not overwhelming other members on your team. I found several great examples for financial professionals at IBM Wow, including a great suite of planning analytics that are going to help transform the role finance has in the organization’s strategy and growth. I got a chance to use the software at the conference and will be sharing a presentation I gave to help you see the potential in these tools.

The third quality your team members must have is a commitment to lifetime learning. There is no surprise here for my executive readers. Most of them have helped me read over 100 books per year for most of my career. If they keep sending them, I’ll keep reading and listening to them. So keep them coming!

What’s changed is that future generations of workers want to learn more quickly.  They want to use their downtime to become better at what they do. Then they want to relax. This is going to require using new technologies to share and collaborate on their learning. Are you up for the challenge?

Finally, the most important quality your team members must have is character.  All of these qualities fail if a person lacks character. Trust is the foundation of great organizations. We have talked about this in the past and heard the groans come from the peanut gallery. I believe that the organization that succeeds must place a high value on trust.

It’s not enough to trust others, you must learn to trust yourself, as well. From my experience, the second is more difficult to achieve. Many of the high potential leaders I work with struggle with self-doubts. Many are very good at what they initially do in their careers, but over time their self-esteem starts to fail them.

We live in a time where almost everything we do can be stored forever somewhere in the world. It is critical that we learn how to forgive ourselves and others for the mistakes that are made.  There is no way to avoid them and they just destroy our self-confidence over time. We must make sure we hire people who are willing to take risks for the opportunities they provide. Great leaders are able to provide a safe place where mistakes can happen and people grow.

John Naisbitt of the Megatrends series once remarked the more we use high technology, the more we must do to connect on a personal level with our friends, workers, and communities. Are you up for the challenge?

Want a sneak peek at some of  the technologies I got to try last week? Next Tuesday I will share IBM Planning Analytics with you. These products will help transform your finance team by helping you better manage and steer your business. I got a free preview and trial for you here. It will also give you a nice overview to get started. Then on the new Tech Tuesday I’ll share my thoughts with you.

See you next week. I’m speaking at the IOT Emerge event in Chicago this week and look forward to spending the next several weeks sharing what I’ve learned from these conferences and how it will impact your lives and career. See you next week!

About the Author

Tripp Braden partners with individuals, families, and businesses on getting rid of all their debt, including their mortgages, in less than 9 years. We do this while supporting wealth creation and transfer. My goal is ensuring that your money outlives you and your family for generations to come.

My practice focuses on midlife entrepreneurs, technology professionals, and engineers. I develop a wealth creation strategy that fits who you are and what you want to achieve. Think of it as growing your wealth, your way. It’s a street-smart way of managing your priorities and goals to help you achieve financial independence.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact me at tbraden@marketleadership.net or send me an invite on LinkedIn. You can find Tripp’s business growth blog at Market Leadership Journal.

Tripp Braden – who has written posts on Empowering Serving Leaders.


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