What does it take to lead and succeed in a world where hybrid working is here to stay, and where things will also keep changing?

Someone who has the answers is New York Times #1 bestselling author, Keith Ferrazzi.

During the pandemic, Keith interviewed over 2,000 leaders to discover how their organizations and teams adapted to new, often better, ways of operating. And during these interviews, he uncovered workplace innovations that unleashed exponential growth during the most volatile period in business.

We had a great conversation recently about what it takes to compete and win in the new world of work.

Instead of going back to work, Keith says it’s about going forward to work. And to do this well, we need to embrace radical adaptability.

Radical adaptability is the key to winning on an individual, team and organizational level and it encompasses three areas:

  1. Foresight – constantly assessing what’s coming around the corner, both risks and opportunities
  2. Agility – using the information to adjust the business and adjust the team
  3. Collaboration and inclusion – adapting to that information with the most inclusive conversations possible

You can watch our conversation here:

How to lead and succeed in a world of hybrid working

I was especially struck by Keith’s insights about how to build collaboration and inclusion in a hybrid environment from wherever you sit in the organization.

Here are my top 3 takeaways from Keith about adapting to the hybrid work context:

1. Replace serendipitous hallway and water cooler conversations with purposeful questions

If you ask the right questions and hold space for people to show up as their authentic, full selves, teams do not lack the connectedness and bonding in a hybrid work environment.

  • So, instead of diving right into the meeting agenda, start by asking, “what are you struggling with these days?” or “what's your energy like these days?”
  • If you bring vulnerable conversations proactively into the room, you bond a group of individuals. As we all know, vulnerability is the key for opening empathy in relationships.

2. What to do when you’re worried that team members aren’t working when you can’t see them

The biggest challenge that leaders had at the beginning of the pandemic was ‘how do I know if my people are working?” And the problem with that is it's not the problem of the employee. It’s the problem of the manager.

  • Instead of managing to “face time”, manage to outcomes. Adopt the agile teams approach of a weekly or bi-weekly negotiation with an employee or a team on what they're going to achieve.
  • Then have them send you a written or voice message at the end of the week on: What have they achieved? Where were they struggling and what are they going to try to achieve next week?
  • Remember that the reality is there are people who could be in the office at their desk, looking like they're working and getting very little done face-to-face!

3. Let go of the “myths of collaboration” that will hold you back from success in a hybrid work environment

These myths stem from an outdated mindset that everybody’s collaborative input needs to be in physical meetings but thinking this way in today’s hybrid environment will hold you back.

  • Myth #1: “All collaboration starts with the meeting” – Instead, successful leaders will use asynchronous work tools (like Google Docs, Slack) to effectively collaborate and progress ideas. Only then does having a meeting become productive, whether that’s face-to-face or virtual.
  • Myth #2: “The more people you get involved in collaboration, the slower it is” – The old way was about limiting the number of people in the room to prevent chaos and come to a consensus. In a hybrid world, we’re better off using asynchronous collaboration to get more data and diverse input. Then you can still have a small group of individuals make the final decision.

Keith also covered these topics:

  • How to lead without authority by adopting a “teaming out” approach
  • Why innovation doesn’t have to suffer in a hybrid work environment and how to enhance it in your organization
  • Tips on how to create connection in the world of hybrid or remote work
  • How to lead effectively while managing unexpected circumstances and demanding more from an overwhelmed or depleted workforce
  • The three questions Keith asks his team members every week to manage outcomes
  • And more…

Be sure to check out the full conversation to gain more insights into succeeding in this new world of hybrid working.

And I highly recommend Keith’s book on how you and your organization can embrace radical adaptability: Competing in the New World of Work: How Radical Adaptability Separates the Best from the Rest

Which of Keith’s insights would most improve collaboration in your organization?

Leave a comment below – I’d love to know.