Change is everywhere this new year -- and in every aspect of our lives. It’s human nature to evolve, in life as well as in business. And in every business, today, new technologies and new styles of management are appearing, along with new ways of doing things, aimed at improving efficiency and, in some cases, cost-effectiveness.
Throughout my travels around the country for new business opportunities and keynote speeches, I’ve noticed a few trends happening -- not just in boardrooms in corporate America, but with small- and medium-sized businesses, as well. How we work is changing, and as business leaders, we must adapt and change with the times. Here are few things that will change the way we work for years to come.
1. Less PowerPoint, more video
How long have we been using the same program for client presentations and meetings? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Businesses are aware that consumers are demonstrating shorter attention spans and that if you don’t captivate them in less time, chances are you’ll lose their attention altogether. What to do? Video.
Instead of presenting a bunch of boring, static presentations (usually 30 slides long), replace them with motion graphics. Something short, quick and to the point is more likely to leave a more lasting impression than 30 slides. Video is becoming the preferred presentation-medium, over images and infographics.
Do you have a plan in place to replace your slides with video? If you don’t, look into all your options, and fast. You always want to be on the cutting edge of business and not get left behind. I’ve said this a thousand times before, but I think it’s worth repeating: “Adapt, change or die!”
2. An emphasis on the 'balance' part in 'work-life balance'
We’ve all heard about the importance of work-life balance. While some people think corporations are "people," I believe that people are people, and the heartbeat of your business. I’m a proponent of hard work and high rewards, but even the most workaholic individuals among us get tired and need a little breather. There’s no shame in that.
With technology helping to eliminate barriers, more companies are delving into telecommuting and figuring out ways to make work easier and more meaningful. Basically, that means figuring out ways to work smarter. In fact, companies are using work-life balance as a recruiting tool to both attract ambitious people who want to move up the corporate ladder and to help drive change and inspire those who want to work and play hard.
3. A de-emphasis on managers
Well, don’t actually get rid of them, but do consider how the very nature of management has drastically changed in recent years. Leaders (or managers) used to be the people selected based on their experience and company loyalty. Today, however, those who lead organizations aren’t necessarily the ones who have spent the most time climbing the corporate ladder.
With millennials set to dominate the workforce for the foreseeable future, leadership has had to evolve from managerial to inspirational and collaborative. The days of employee performance appraisals and performance management are going by the wayside -- as is anything that creates tension among employees themselves or between employees and managers.
The theme of today’s workforce is, instead, collaboration. As a result, management systems that provide feedback are being put in place in order to determine who will be the next class of leaders within the company. The corporate ladder is not as steep as it used to be. In its place is a more even-keeled playing field that will determine your company’s new environment and new set of leaders. Where does your company stand?
4. The growth of social media for business
Sure, we already use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn on a fairly regular basis for our daily business dealings -- heck, even presidential candidates are using tools like SnapChat and Periscope to get their messages to the masses. There isn’t anything new there, but social media will continue to evolve and change the way we do business.
For example, social messaging by apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger has found ways to engage with customers for marketing purposes.
With analytics and other insights becoming more prominent within large and small companies alike, people who eat, live and breathe technology will continue finding ways to combine social media with business. The other day, for instance, I made an online purchase, and the next thing I knew, I got a message on Facebook Messenger asking about my experience on that shopping site, and offering me a link to track my package.
Facebook Messenger has been busy testing such customer service features. And they're working: I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see that message pop up.
I've already written how video is the next wave of change in business, but it’s so important that I'll mention it again. Last year alone, Facebook surpassed YouTube in video views, with 8 billion -- "billion" with a “b” -- views. Twitter also launched native video and SnapChat reported 6 billion daily video views.
Yet, despite the success of video on social media, many companies are still reluctant to get into the social video game for one main reason: cost. It can be expensive to produce a broadcast-quality video, and I get it, because not everyone has the budget for long videos. But how about shorter formats?
Vines on Twitter and 15-second Instagram videos are the rage these days, and there’s also streaming via Meerkat or Periscope. I myself have Periscope’d right before doing my All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett podcast and have received tons of questions and instant feedback from followers. Periscope, in fact, is a pretty cool way to stay in touch with your customers/followers.
Considering that this is already big, imagine how much more all-encompassing this could get in 2016. Jump on the wagon now or get left behind!
What changes are you looking to implement in your workplace in 2016? Whatever it is you’re looking to change, you must ride the waves of change now sweeping the business world. Otherwise, you might end up wiping out! And "wipe out" sounds so much better when the Beach Boys sing it.