January 6, 2023

Daniel Pink Explores the Future of Business

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For many years (decades really), employees and employers alike knew what to anticipate from their day-to-day lives in the workforce. Generally, that day included a commute and a certain number of hours in an office with co-workers. Sure, change happened, but it tended to develop gradually and with a period of adjustment. After all, we didn’t just wake up one morning with our smartphones in our pockets. We did, however, wake up one morning in the midst of a global pandemic and a nationwide shutdown, forcing all but a few to work remotely and ushering in a new era in business that has left us all trying to figure out our next move.

On December 8, 2022, as part of LWCC’s Speaker Series fundraiser for the Kids’ Chance Scholarship Program, Daniel Pink, a New York Times #1 bestselling author and one of the world’s top business thinkers, took to the stage at the Foster Learning Center. His goal: Tell an audience of roughly 200 LWCC policyholders, employees, and agent partners what he believes we will see next in the world of business and how we can prepare.  

“Our top priority was finding a speaker who would be able to motivate and inspire this important and unique audience,” said LWCC Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Seth Irby. “This room is filled with people who have faced unprecedented challenges, no matter the industry you’ve been in the last several years. We wanted to find someone who would help us navigate these uncharted waters, and we found the perfect person.”

5 Ways to Navigate What’s Next with Daniel Pink

Daniel’s presentation was tailored specifically to the LWCC audience and included five ways to successfully navigate the future of business and the quickly-evolving workplace. Unsurprisingly for a well-known researcher and writer, each suggestion he offered to the audience was soundly based on scientific research.

“This moment that we’re in is a time for experimenting rather than knowing,” Daniel explained. “What I’m giving you are suggestions to help you figure it out, to find your footing in this very uncertain place, to begin at some level, developing your own strategic plan for what you’re going to do in 2023.”

1. Begin a Progress Ritual - Cited research shows that employees are happiest on days when they feel they have made progress on meaningful work, but it is also easy to forget or overlook ways in which progress has been made. Make a habit to write down three ways you have made progress at the end of each day.

2. Carve Out an Island of Autonomy - Creativity thrives in freedom. Some of our best ideas and most impressive work comes not from a structured task or assignment but from boundless opportunity and a lack of restriction. Creating an hour, a day, or more where employees are encouraged to pursue their own ideas outside of existing projects is proven to feed creativity and innovation.

3. Focus More on Why and Less on How - Performance is at its peak when employees have a stronger connection to the meaning behind the work. In most work environments, there are countless meetings and reminders of HOW the work should be done. Far less common are reminders of WHY. Drive more conversations towards the why and workplace morale and performance will both increase.

4. Schedule Regular Breaks - Too often, breaks are viewed as a deviation from work when they are, in fact, an integral part of it. In order to structure the most restorative breaks with the greatest positive impact, science has identified five principles:

  • Something beats nothing (a one minute break is better than no break at all)
  • Moving beats stationary (breaks in motion are more restorative than those that are sedentary)
  • Social beats solo (breaks with other people are more restorative than breaks on your own)
  • Outside beats inside
  • Fully detached beats semi-detached (don’t spend your break on your phone)

5. Employ This Decision-Making Technique - Fear often stands between us and life’s tougher decisions, while regret often makes us look back and wish we had taken the leap. How can we determine which leaps to take and which to avoid? In business, Daniel advises that we ask ourselves, “If I were replaced tomorrow, what would my successor do?” The answer to that question is the course of action you should take.

Taking a Chance for a Better Future

Ultimately, we all want to feel that we’re positively impacting the world around us, particularly through our daily work. As we navigate a changing landscape that includes increased autonomy, less office time, and drastic shifts in methods of communication, we’re also finding that we’re required to take big leaps of faith in order to forge ahead successfully. According to Daniel, those leaps of faith are also essential to our happiness:

“All of our regrets begin at a juncture in our lives where we can play it safe or we can take a chance. What I found with a database of 23,000 regrets worldwide is that overwhelmingly - not all the time, but most of the time - people regret not taking the chance.”

Whether in your professional or personal life, we (along with Daniel Pink) encourage you to take the chance, to choose action over inaction, and push toward a better, brighter future for yourself, those around you, and the great state of Louisiana.

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