The complexity, ambiguity and rapid change of the modern world are the biggest challenges for both individuals and organizations. Each of us feels the difficulties of adapting to change on our shoulders, and this pressure manifests itself in different ways in our daily lives, whether it be confusion, stress or burnout. One of the main questions of today is - how to deal with all this? What do we most need in order to achieve the desired results in the light of the current reality, without losing the feeling of fulfillment and happiness that comes from being involved in the process?
In Gestalt psychology, development (life in general) is seen as the interaction of the organism and the environment, as a result of which the personality changes and grows. This attitude is called creative adaptation. The contact of a person with the environment is the more creative, the less it is conditioned by rigid formulas and schemes. Accordingly, its growth and development is greater. Creative thinking is even more relevant in a world where the pace of change is accelerating and where artificial intelligence will replace many routine tasks. One of the major challenges facing modern organizations is how to build an organizational culture that encourages creative and growth-oriented thinking, where employees themselves are change makers, where they are created according to a clear vision and values.
systems and decisions are made. To better understand the benefits of creative thinking, let's take a closer look at how it differs from reactive (fixed) thinking, what determines their formation. First of all, it should be said that both types of thinking have different rules of the game and both games are an integral part of our reality.
Reactive thinking works according to the rules of the outer game. This is an orientation towards external reality, this is the development of knowledge and competencies that the environment requires from us. It is our existing knowledge and experience, managerial, technical and leadership competencies adapted to the requirements of the outdoor game. As a result, the so-called "traditional ways" of adapting to the environment are formed and strengthened. Fixed or reactive thinking. Reactive thinking is defensively oriented, trying to play in such a way that it doesn't lose. Every day more and more energy is required to respond to the changing and growing demands of the environment. During outdoor play, a person's sense of security and worth depends on external validation. Since any knowledge today becomes obsolete, and the environment sets new tasks for a person, external assessments also change rapidly and are unstable over time. Adapting to them requires a lot of energy from a person. As a result, anxiety and feelings of pressure increase.
Fixed or reactionary thinking (same external game) reacts to problems,
It is possible to reduce the severity of problems, but not to bring about qualitative changes. This is one of its main limitations. When the outer game dominates and the inner game constantly follows it, the result is increased stress and tension, and a decrease in human happiness. The external game finds a corresponding reflection in the organizational culture. In fixed mindset organizations, innovation and innovative approaches are not encouraged or implemented, they are intimidated by competition, and they struggle to maintain their position. In conditions of reactive management, the “language of guilt” is often used, there are frequent conversations about problems and endless attempts to find their causes, although they cannot be eliminated, there is no qualitative change in the context that caused the problems. The employee is uninitiated and waits for tasks, is afraid to make a mistake, so he does not take a step towards innovations. In such an organizational culture, the worker is lost and depressed, unable to develop and realize his creative potential. Hence, his engagement and happiness index is very low. As for the inner game, this is a process directed from the inside out, which is based on self-knowledge, awareness of one's own desires. The focus of the inner game is “what I want, what worries me”, and not “what I need, what they will tell me”. Accordingly, it is development-oriented, in which case a person contributes to the valuable work for him with his unique “I”, unique vision. A person focused on the inner game has a vision of the future and consciously takes steps towards it. Indoor games develop creative thinking. At this time, with each contact with the environment, the individual creates a unique experience, creating something that did not exist before. Creative Thinking "It's a game to win with all your heart, with nothing to gain and nothing to lose" (Larry Wilson, The Game to Win). The "inside game" does not depend on external debt. In such cases, failure is also an experience and, as a result, self-esteem is not destroyed. The internal game is a complex internal system in which the individual ability to give meaning (who we are and how we see our own identity, how we see our role in the world) is built; Decision-making process (what are the values and beliefs based on which we make decisions), self-awareness and a high level of emotional intelligence. Inner play, also known as the growth mindset, combines skills such as dignity, sincerity, high self-awareness, cooperation, courage, humility, intuition, inner wisdom. It is these qualities that are vital for us to grow and develop in contact with the environment, and not vice versa, to be repressed and become hostile. These character traits develop creative abilities in us and create the right ground for the development of new competencies, a better mood, interest and openness.
Those organizations that focus on the internal game, attach the greatest importance to the vision and values, the coincidence of the values of the organization and the employee. Such organizations create space for development, gaining new experience, introducing innovations. Teamwork and collaboration are encouraged. In such a culture, they promote self-awareness and action with conscious motivation, choosing things in accordance with the interests of the worker. Welcome openness, changes and support each other in these changes. Today's complex, fast-paced and ambiguous reality requires individuals and organizations to pay more attention to the inner game as it is a more reliable system to navigate. Establishing a healthy relationship with the environment without a strong internal play structure is unthinkable. Understanding the importance of the internal game for the leaders of the organization and readiness for transformation is the first step, although the successful transformation of the organization is possible with an integrated approach, consistent and daily work. It is a process involving continuous and often painful decisions. Proper assessment of this process and appropriate preparation are prerequisites for the desired change. For simplicity, we can say that the successful transformation of the organization is associated with consistent changes in all three areas (vision, organizational culture and performance systems) and maintaining their balance. We share this approach in ACT, in the direction of management consulting ACT offers organizations a successful transformation model POWER3. The balance of the three forces achieved in the process of transformation can become a prerequisite for a harmonious transition to the inner game. Finally, if we can move from reactive thinking to creative thinking, we can create a vision that best aligns with our inner values. Values will energize us and give us the strength to master every day the work that best expresses our core message and brings us closer each time to the vision we created.
Work-life balance, fair pay and equal values are what Generation Z wants and is willing to leave the company if they don't get it.
It's probably no news that Gen-Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012, is the most popular generation at this stage, making up a third (30%) of the world's population. And this means that the share of their capital in the labor market is large and in the coming years this figure will increase even more (by 2025, their number in the labor market will be 27%). But what do they want in terms of career and what values are important for Gen-Z when choosing an employer, and have employers thought about this?
Technological changes and the establishment of new norms in the work process lead to transformations, both at the organizational and individual levels. Technological developments are changing the rules of work in and of themselves, but perhaps a more important change is the arrival of a new generation on the scene who plans to act on their own rules and leave a new mark on the employer-employee relationship.
Leading companies have already begun to take care of how to attract the talents of future generations. “Generation Z is an important part of the ACT workforce. They are the future of our company and country, and we are well aware of how to meet their expectations, which are somewhat different from the expectations of other generations. Their demands naturally flow from their core values: freedom, equality, an inclusive and sustainable environment. They do not want to work in companies that do not recognize equal, fair approaches and attitudes towards any employee in all aspects: communication, labor relations, development, career growth, salary, etc. It is also important for them to create a diverse and inclusive environment, which implies such an involvement of the employee in the organizational context, when he gets the feeling that he is accepted, respected and understood, taking into account his unique personality, abilities and experience. ", - Tea Shamatava, Head of Human Resources and Organizational Development, ACT.
How is Gen-Z different from previous generations and what do they want?
While everyone wants to do interesting work with decent pay and conditions, to have the opportunity for career growth and development, there are still several characteristics that distinguish Gen-Z from their predecessors: millennials, generation -X and baby boomers. This is the first digital generation that grew up with little or no memory of a world without technology and the Internet. This generation has been called the first "Global Generation", a member of a society where access to global content and information is more free, and e-commerce activities from anywhere in the world are considered the norm. Therefore, for them, remote work, freelancing and finding the right career opportunities for them is a familiar process. You might think this is a generation motivated by more pragmatic comforts and guaranteed wages, but that's not always the case.
Generation Z talent emerged when flexibility is not only possible but inevitable, digital connectivity is ubiquitous, and employees have more power to demand what they want from companies. According to a recent RippleMatch report, Generation Z can change jobs 10 times between the ages of 18 and 34. The old concept of a career ladder that starts at the lowest rung and ends at the executive rung can be replaced with something more flexible. According to the 2022 TalentLMs survey, 82% of working Gen Zers prioritize work-life balance and mental health, while 74% choose hybrid or full-time remote work. Seeing that other generations in the workplace are constantly running out of time, burn out at work and lack adequate economic security, Gen Z is demanding more free time, the ability to work remotely, and greater social responsibility from organizations. After poor pay, burnout and a lack of work-life balance were the top reasons they quit. Many of these values were millennial preferences, but for Generation Z, this is a need, this is what they expect from their employer, and if their demands are not met, they will leave the company. Often referred to as the anti-capitalist generation, Generation Z wants everything at once, but at the same time is ready to spend as much as possible in the workplace for the right employer.
According to popular belief, this is simply a generation that responds to contemporary social movements and makes good use of the lessons learned by the previous generation in the career planning process.
In the GOBankingRates survey, 19.6% of Gen-Z's other priorities are career passion, while 16.5% are salary. Although in some cases other benefits were mentioned before the financial interest, salary still matters a lot among the young people interviewed. They want to work in jobs that interest them and earn a fair salary, and they also want to feel connected to their organization. For businesses, this means they need to be transparent about building their employer brand, talking loudly about the benefits they offer to employees, and how they create a positive work culture. This means that employers will have to change their strategy for attracting, hiring and developing talent, which will lead to changes in the labor market as a whole and will benefit not only this particular generation, but any generation.
Where is the disparity between Gen-Z and employers?
In a 2023 Deloitte Digital study, Gen-Z employees and their executives were surveyed to see if they understand each other's priorities. As a result of the study, three main problems were identified:
• Conflicting views on the meaning of empathy
Gen-Z values their leaders' empathy and sees it as a necessary condition for engagement, but managers surveyed did not find empathy as valuable. It is important for this generation to be seen as a personality in the workplace and not just a KPI force.
• Different views have emerged on the impact of work on mental health.
Representatives of Gen-Z believe that their mental health is not properly maintained. Their ideas about how work affects mental health differ from those of their leaders. Less than half of respondents say that their supervisors help them maintain a normal workload, and 28% believe that they have mental problems because of the boss. It is vital for them not to think about work after hours and not feel overwhelmed.
• Different ideas about the importance of work in defining personality.
Gen Z views work less as part of their identity, while for most of their managers, this connection is strong, and for 86% of them, work is part of their identity.
The reasons for this gap of different views can be:
• Management doesn't understand what Gen-Z wants
• Managers are aware of the desires of generation Z, but do not agree with them
• Both groups agree that changes are needed, but there is no clear vision of how these changes should occur.
To fill each of these gaps, leaders must take different actions, and these actions necessarily involve change. Generations and their values change, which naturally leads to corporate and organizational transformations. In this process, it is vital for modern companies to communicate more with employees, ensure their involvement in the decision-making process and create platforms where they can express their opinion on a particular issue in the organization.
A catalyst for change?
Each generation has its own unique style, needs, goals and characteristics. That's why it's so important to create an environment where all employees feel engaged, inspired, energized and able to express themselves, collaborate and learn from each other. This is why it is important for companies to offer first work experience programs such as internships and various project opportunities. Instead, Generation Z brings new skills, innovative ideas, and diverse perspectives.
Every generation changes the workplace, from the arrival of women in the workplace during World War II, to millennials who have raised awareness of fundamental issues such as mental health, equality and inclusion, decent working conditions, and more. But Gen-Z as a workforce is emerging after the historic Covid-19 pandemic and at a time when fundamental changes are taking place in terms of technological development, values are changing and people are no longer dependent on one employer, so what Gen-Z is looking for and what they prioritize today is likely to largely determine the labor market and lead to long-term change. Preparing for change starts today.
Along with the rapid development of digital products and the IT industry in general, Agile methodology is gaining popularity, which is an iterative and collaborative approach to project management and software development, focused on flexibility, customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. Agile is already a well established approach as it enables teams to create high quality products that meet customer needs in a rapidly changing marketplace. While Agile is most widely used in the IT industry, this approach can be applied to a wide range of businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Given their size and specificity, it can be said that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face unique challenges that require different and innovative approaches in their day-to-day operations. Such an approach can help the SME sector to better respond to a rapidly changing business environment and achieve better results, especially when organizations have limited resources and are forced to act at the pace of changing external environment.
In this article, we will introduce you to the best practices for using Agile for small and medium businesses.
The best way to implement Agile in small and medium businesses is to start the process in small steps, because the entire organization cannot immediately migrate to a new operating system. Therefore, it is better to create an experience according to the Agile methodology, for this, choose one project or team that will be led by Agile. Gradually expand/share the experience gained with the rest of the company, which will give employees the opportunity to gradually and deeply comprehend the Agile methodology. This approach reduces the risk of disruption to the entire organization and allows team members to gain the necessary knowledge, practical experience, and generally increases their readiness to use innovative methodologies.
An integral part of the Agile methodology is collaboration and communication between team members, stakeholders, and users. Encouraging everyone to participate in the work process will help everyone get a clear idea of the project goals and their own vision of how they will contribute to the success of the project. This will also help minimize misunderstandings and improve the overall quality of the project.
One of the core tenets of Agile is the ability to respond quickly to change – Responding to change over following a plan. Small and medium-sized enterprises often face drastic changes in environmental factors and need to be able to quickly and efficiently adapt to the new reality. It is often important for managers to create a “perfect” product/service, but in the face of constant change, focusing on excellence is not always an effective solution. In other words, the pursuit of excellence can prevent a company from creating value for its customers.
“Done is Better Than Perfect."
Agile is an iterative-incremental and cyclical process - it is important to divide the workflow into time intervals (sprints), this process is continuous and with each iteration a part of the product is created. During each sprint, the team creates tangible value, albeit minimal, but still tangible. This focus on value allows small and medium-sized companies to better understand the needs of their customers and respond to them quickly and efficiently. This focus allows the project team to focus energy on collaborating with the client, - Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
Delivering a product or service in small chunks allows companies to avoid wasting time on features or services that do not provide value to the client, and instead focus on providing the most valuable features or services.
„Focus on what the customer needs, rather than what you think can be delivered.“
At first glance, the Agile methodology seems complicated, so it is important that the implementation process is simple and straightforward. Avoid overcomplicating the process with unnecessary bureaucracy and stick to the core principles of Agile. This will help minimize confusion among employees and ensure that the company's workflow is focused on creating value for the customer.
„Working software (product) over comprehensive documentation.“
It is very important to monitor progress regularly and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that everything is being done correctly to achieve the project goals. This will help to identify potential problems at an early stage and initiate the necessary actions. By using continuous measures of success, SMEs can better understand what approaches are working or not working for their organization and make the necessary changes to improve results.
Promoting a culture that values development and continuous improvement is critical to the successful implementation of Agile in small and medium-sized companies. This means giving team members the opportunity to develop their skills, get out of their comfort zone and not be afraid of new challenges. By encouraging a culture of continuous improvement, SMEs can even more professionally focus on delivering a product/service that delivers value to their customers.
In summary, the Agile methodology is a powerful approach for SMBs to better adapt to a rapidly changing and constantly changing business environment. By using this methodology, SMBs can deliver the most important value creation for their customers and increase the level of collaboration and collaboration within their team.
It is clear that Agile is most actively used in the IT sector, although the benefits of this approach can be used in other areas. This requires all companies to find their way through the agile transformation, which will help them strive for the right approach and continuous improvement to remain competitive and achieve their goals.
As the new year approaches, I remember John Lewis's Christmas commercial and I think I'll dedicate an article to advertising with the emotions I've received.
Christmas and New Year, sometimes with snowflakes, sometimes without snow. Red cheeks from the cold and a feeling of pleasure from home warmth. Lighted streets, business people, quick steps and unexpected joy from colorful Coca-Cola cars.
A period when, if not everyone, then almost everyone, tries to celebrate Christmas and New Year in their ideal or close to ideal environment. To gain symbolic charm for the December holiday, people dress up as a fictional Santa and express their care and love to someone important to them. The impatience to give gifts is growing day by day, because this is a well-deserved adrenaline rush from long reflections, getting to know the wishes of the addressee and giving him pleasure. Why not? If a brand like John Levis can help us convey emotion. The Art of Attraction ad is a story about Christmas seen through the eyes of a little boy and an emotion that is hard not to translate into action.
Finding characteristics that are valuable to most people and then combining them into one small creative piece of content can make an ad attractive and special to the public. Since the starting point is a specific product, advertisers sometimes prefer to attract potential customers with humor, and sometimes the balance of aesthetic elements is crucial. They say that simplicity is perfect, but it's not easy to convince hundreds of thousands of unique people through advertising that using this particular product will satisfy at least one of a long list of needs.
Seligman and Peterson agree that curiosity is a valuable need, otherwise they would not have proposed curiosity as a subcategory of wisdom in the developed character strengths model (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Naturally, the creator of the product and the consumer have a strong desire to understand, or to know - how does eating chocolate make a lady in a cafeteria feel? Maybe the girl prefers to walk with Frank Sinatra in cool weather in the evening in new shoes? What is the familiar environment for a person who wants to try a new whiskey? By responding to the interests of similar topics, advertising becomes a concept filled with value, and research becomes a key tool to help the product developer develop a new vision based on valid and reliable data.
We can say that a study conducted on hundreds of people is a kind of insurance that the product is successfully adopted in society. This is indicated by the fact that in addition to consumer research, the researcher receives information about what may be predisposing behavior before consuming the product, what hidden messages are best used in the process of communication with the target segment, and other valuable information. Details that become so important for understanding how people communicate through advertising. Analyzing consumer behavior gives companies the ability to understand what their audiences think and feel, and at the same time find an explanation for what drives existing attitudes. The valuable components that consumer research considers are:
Market Analysis - What is the existing market doing? What is the trend?
Product content. What are the key features that differentiate the product from other similar products?
The product in the eyes of the buyer - what value does the product create for the buyer? What is the motivating factor for the consumption of the product for the target segment?
Based on the information obtained as a result of the study, companies are given the opportunity to improve communication with buyers, which is directly related to a change in buyer behavior and, accordingly, to an increase in sales.
Research companies use a variety of traditional and modern methods to uncover consumer sentiment, but the ad creation process doesn't end there. The second, no less important step is to test it on a small group of the target segment before it becomes available to the general public. At this stage, the main work is completed (the concept and communicative messages are determined), however, based on the results of the study, it is possible to make small changes to the advertisement regarding sound, music, colors and other less important details.
Advertising testing is mainly carried out on focus groups. The moderator presents the advertisement to the target group, which is estimated by the respondents - conditionally, what is the initial impression of the advertisement, how effective is the visual side, musical arrangement and voice acting, how well the main message is perceived, what is attractive to them, what needs to be improved, and so on. Based on the information received, the analyst analyzes the results and issues appropriate recommendations based on valuable “insights”. In general, the feedback received from the user is also an indicator of the eventual success or failure of an advertisement. Defining the role of advertising testing, we see the main advantages:
1. Saving resources - advertising that has passed the testing stage gives some idea of the expected reaction of the public. This reduces the likelihood of creating ineffective advertising and saves time and financial resources spent on it.
2. Increasing efficiency - preliminary research of advertising is a means of correcting its shortcomings, which, in turn, increases the chance of conveying the message desired by advertising to the consumer.
In the ACT archive, you can find studies of commercials from many successful local and international companies, the purpose of which was to test them in several ways before launching on television. The results obtained allowed companies to take into account the opinion of potential customers and bring their advertisements as close as possible to the ideal.
One of the latest successful studies in the list of projects involved testing an advertisement for a new Liberty Bank credit card. As part of this project, Liberty Bank investigated what potential customers think about the video as a whole, its music, communication messages, etc. Based on the results of the study, the bank made a specific decision to voice the commercial.
“The study was very useful and interesting for us. The proposed research design and methodology helped us make the right decisions related to the planned campaign,” Nino Beridze, Head of Customer Experience at Liberty Bank.
The process of creating compelling ads links research data to a storytelling that sometimes activates the same areas of the brain enough to convince people to use the product. By understanding consumer behavior and visualizing their views in advertising, an emotional connection is established between the audience and the product, which becomes a crucial link for a committed relationship.
“Today is December 31st. A day of feeling special gratitude for the old year. It is a strange feeling to cope with the sadness and euphoria of waiting for the new year at the same time. I'm glad. 365 days ago, I had no idea what an interesting person I could be. I was able to believe in my own abilities.”
1. When a diary is more than just a word written on paper, 2022.