Steve Jobs once said that it is innovation that separates a leader from the followers, and in today’s market with an ever-changing composition and increasing demand for greater and faster results, it is only innovation and the ability to identify innovation that will take organisations beyond.

For organisations that are in the stage of experimentation, it is essential that these entrepreneurial set-ups identify the right set of skills and talents and incorporate it within their structure. It is important that these pools of ambitious minds blend well and work with greater collaboration towards the realisation of goals set forth by the founders. The workplace today is breaking away from the stereotypical set-up and coming forward to hire a diverse range of employees, not just as a reflection of the growing workforce diversity and the compulsion to fit in, but because these employees are promising to be the ideal vision of the divergent thinking that is necessary for expansion and survival.

The traditional belief that the workplace is a collective effort has not changed in these times of turbulence, as business and visionary attempts continue to be a team effort that needs helping hands of all its members. Some things remain a constant and the need today has become greater to find such minds and hands that are innovative and trending, and yet have their roots grounded. We have heard about Google, Microsoft, Facebook, which have found goal achievement through years of hard work and team efforts, but do we really need to go that far? Look around; look at the firm down the lane where 20 odd employees are working with a smile on their face to ensure that they provide the best security solutions inspite of the pending bills. Look at the bakery shop next door where the 10 odd employees are switching job roles to ensure work doesn’t stop even if the pressure is high. Successful companies are everywhere, and they do not always have to huge. Small to medium enterprises are as successful as industry giants, not because of the assets stacked up in the bank, but because of the assets sitting on their desks. Such assets, however, do not miraculously step up, and to complete the puzzle, such assets are to be found, and this is where the right kind of hiring comes in. It is important to identify diversity and not just stick to the numbers and qualifications on the resume, because the real skills and competencies are in the attitude and the enthusiasm to convert the theories to an application.

The ability to identify these divergent minds plays a crucial role for the leaders because it is they who pick these minds, put it to use at the right time and in the right places, and lighten up the bulb of innovation. The more the diversity in the employee pool the better are the chances that it will lead to more ways of looking at a proposition.

In the light of the constant competition, the one that has the most divergent skills will survive. Leaders have to be themselves divergent to identify the right minds and motivate them to work towards a collective effort of taking the company vision forward. Of course, it is easier said than done and identifying the right skill set is not enough when it comes to the benefit of collective performance as individual diversity must sync in well with the collective agendas and collaborations. Just as a wrong coding input can mess up an entire programming language, a wrong individual can disrupt the entire team effort.

Perhaps this why the Australian prime ministerial leadership has been going through a decade-long tumultuous chaos without any concrete resolution and has been unable to function at its best.There have been many elected to the position but have been ousted by their own team members because of lack of coordination and inability to function towards the collective performance.This has affected not only the citizens and their needs, but also shed light on the glaring issue of uncoordinated team efforts. Just as the office of the Prime Minister needs to be tied in a collective manner with all the members supportive of each other and all of them utilising their divergent abilities towards the benefit of the larger perspective, SMEs also need to channel their diversity in the right direction, or there could be “spills” and someone else would fill in. The strategies come in when it reflects the inclusion of the diversity within the team because the little loopholes in the form of nonacceptance by the members or unresolved conflicts or members working towards different missions can be detrimental. It is not enough for the leaders to identify the innovation and need for diversity but also to install the same attitude in their team, because inclusion is as necessary as implementation.

In the end, it is all about making the right decisions by the right leaders with the right team members at the right time and in the right way. The success formula has always been simple, strongly held feet in the present, an ability to visualise the future, and learn from the mistakes of the past, and when this formula aligns with divergent leaders who recognise divergent thinking within the team, and then there is no stopping for the small and medium enterprises from becoming an industry giant.

 


Dominic Nair, CEO of Talent Multipliers is a people and culture strategist who partners with CEOs and business leaders of SMEs to grow and transform their organisation’s human capital and deliver tangible business results. After spending 25 years in executive leadership positions across multiple industries in both private and public sector, Dominic knows what truly drives engagement and organisational performance.

It is how well an organisation can harness individual potential and drive massive action needed to create desired outcomes.

Over his career, Dominic has developed and led successful people solutions and strategies across 50 organisations in international markets covering small, medium and large businesses. In addition to his extensive experience across HR, reward, leadership development and M&A, Dominic is also a trained business and executive leadership coach.

Dominic holds an MBA from the University of Bradford together with other professional and technical qualifications. For information on how Talent Multipliers can support your business, visit us at www.tmultipliers.com.au