Nine out of ten executives believe that their leadership model has to evolve to adapt to the post-covid scenario. 75% of them are already prioritizing this adaptation, according to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group on new ways of working. It highlights the qualities most sought after in new leaders: that they be considerate, empathetic, that they listen to and develop their teams, and that they question themselves. That is to say, that they appear more human and do not hide their vulnerabilities.
The strategic consultancy Soulsight, founded by Eduardo Beotas and Carmen Bustos 17 years ago, is a firm believer in the need for leadership transformation that the pandemic has made more urgent and advocates that “people use companies instead of companies use people, as they do now ”, according to its CEO. Carmen Bustos believes that management has become a machine language and therefore wants to change that language and humanize it. “We must speak in another way. Abandon terms such as efficiency and profitability and talk about beauty and art ”.
A starting point to transform the company into a process that, from their point of view, requires a complete change in vision. “Companies fill their mouths with the word purpose, but in reality what they use is the extractive economy, they use people, as the philosopher Alfonso López Quintás defends,” adds the executive. Soulsight has launched the Wander project, directed by Álvaro Matías, to invite organizations to modify that perspective, to get out of the pot of corseted and repetitive thought and action.
It is a creative research laboratory, a space for exploration and learning to understand society and know the implications of business decisions; to know how to navigate in the complexity of the 21st century, explain its promoters. A school of strategic thought that seeks to humanize the economy in the hands of experts from different disciplines (philosophers, anthropologists, biologists, historians, quantum physicists …) “that connect the business world with social, humanistic and scientific reality and allow us to think about what paths they are better for our bank and society ”, says Almudena Román, director of banking for individuals at ING in Spain. After going through Wander, Román affirms: “It has been a very powerful source of inspiration and learning”.
To end canned thinking and build new stories that lead to other business decisions, “Wander is a project to ramble, drift, lose yourself in conversation and develop critical thinking. The human being is an explorer and to solve the complex challenges that he faces today, he needs the power of the humanities, that art, philosophy or quantum physics accompany the business ”, explains Bustos, aware that humanizing management has been become a new fashion among managers as a result of the pandemic, a posture; Although he believes that managers for whom it represents a reality, “are concerned about the significance and want to do things differently,” supports Álvaro Matías.
Manuel Terroba, president of the BMW Group in Spain, declares himself one of the latter and rules out that humanist leadership is a fad, at least for him. A firm believer in people-based management, Terroba says Soulsight made him “question things that he considered basic. They helped me to look differently, to observe art through a guide as a simple instrument to face business problems in a different way. Until now no one has offered me a different perspective on business management processes ”.
“I love to question the status quo. Procedures in multinationals are highly standardized. We are in a washing machine and the spin dynamics are so fast that we do not have time to think. The new look that Wander has given me has helped me to question how we did things, to have time to stop and observe and to give value to the teams ”, adds the BMW executive.
Terroba participated in one of Wander’s programs, the so-called Look Hack. But it has a few more: Thought Hacking, Conversation Hacking, and Leadership Programs. The price of the school per company and for four months is 50,000 euros for two people, explains Álvaro Matías. In particular, the complete program costs 12,000 euros, although it can be addressed through short courses of between 600 and 2,600 euros.
Both the first executive of ING in Spain and that of BMW have addressed changes in the management of their companies as a result of the pandemic and supported by their new perspective. Both stand out among the measures implemented labor flexibility. “From before the summer of 2020 we have been 100% flexible, which allows people to work from wherever they want. Thus we show with facts what we think. We are more about talking, reflecting and people finding their own solutions than rules. We work a lot on listening. And after carrying out a pilot test, the learning led us to make decisions and to this test of confidence ”, explains Almudena Román. Oblivious to absolute truths because she recognizes that she tends to change her mind, the executive maintains that she works daily on polarities; Now he reflects on how to make controlling teams and creating an environment of trust stop being in opposition, and on how to make money and that people are well.
For Manuel Terroba the keys to management are to give responsibility to the teams, set goals and work with confidence. BMW has opted for hybrid work, 60% in the office and 40% remotely, “which is a great thing for us because the times of face-to-face work are over,” he says. Although it admits that this model can be adjusted according to the needs. The company has remodeled its offices to eliminate departments and offices and work on projects.