But most question whether they exist: the truth is they do, but they are more than high potentials we have become so obsessed about over the last 30 years – they are Game Changers.
It’s not that Game Changers aren’t wanted or valued. The reality is that most CEOs out there are crying out for Game Changers – they know they need these talented individuals to survive long-term. But they don’t always know how to find them or create a game-changing culture to allow them to achieve their potential: in large organisations it’s impossible for CEOs to know every employee well enough to spot these individuals.
So what needs to be done? Well, there is a need for change if companies are going to remain competitive and survive in today’s fast-paced world. Heads of HR, senior directors, consultants and Game Changers recently gathered at The London Edition for an exclusive workshop to discuss how a game changing culture can be created to help identify these individuals and let them work their magic.
The event sparked a lively debate with some of the UK’s leading organisations and consultancies in agreement that there is a pressing need for organisations to develop the sort of corporate culture that Game Changers can both survive and thrive in.
Two Game Changers talked about their experiences. One felt so stifled with corporate life that they left after just eight months and went on to set up their own business – they have been very successful. Another has managed to navigate their career and found an employer who both recognises and values their talents – but this took time to achieve.
We’ve spoken to hundreds of Game Changers and one of the key ingredients resonating across all of them is that for them to achieve their potential they need a boss who can give them space to be creative, but these bosses are few and far between.
Traditional corporate cultures don’t lend themselves well to Game Changers. These cultures instil processes that most managers have to follow and this works against the organisational profile that a Game Changer requires – they don’t like restraints – they don’t like processes.
Game Changers need the freedom to try new things and explore their ideas so rules and processes can lock down an individual’s opportunity to achieve their potential. Our research shows the thought processes of Game Changers don’t sit well with traditional corporate hierarchies and they end up being confounded to less game changing management to deal with.
Another insightful theme is that Game Changers feel different to their peers and see things that others don’t – as one senior leader said, “They can see around corners, whilst the rest of us just see in straight lines.” This breeds frustration, as they’ll come up with a solution to an issue that isn’t then actioned or progressed.
In a world where today’s employee can be tomorrow’s competitor identifying and embracing these Game Changers is critical to long-term business performance. We’ve developed The GC Index, in partnership with Adrian Furnham, Management Expert and Professor of Psychology, which enables organisations to identify their Game Changers.
The GC Index is the first psychometric instrument to identify Game Changers. Unlike other psychometric instruments, like MBTI, Hogan and their derivatives, The GC Index describes decision making based on contribution rather than focusing on personality. It has been likened to a 21st Century Belbin that also identifies Game Changers, but this may be doing it a disservice.
Organisations are using The GC Index to better understand the profile of the organisations and teams, to help maximise the contribution individuals can make and to ensure they create game-changing teams.
The GC Index defines five core ‘corporate contributions’ within organisations and teams. These contributions are readily recognisable and based on an individual’s inclinations and potential when it comes to having an impact and making contribution to a team and organisation function.
The reality is Game Changers will only thrive and deliver outstanding results if they have the right team there to support them and they are in a culture which enables them to do so. The million dollar question we’re being asked is “how do you create this game changing culture?”
Some organisations we’ve been working with, create innovation hubs and project groups. Changing the culture within these groups, allowing one area of the business to take more risk that allows these Game Changers to flourish enables them to protect the rest of the business. Others bring in these talented individuals as and when they think they need them, whether that be buying a game-changing organisation or hiring a game-changing consultant.
These ways of working are not wrong but what they don’t do is create a true game-changing culture whereby Game Changers are able to fulfill their potential regardless of their role or position in the business.
To really succeed in creating a game changing culture organisations need a senior leader to either be a Game Changer themselves or really understand how they tick. They need to be championing Game Changers and helping create an environment that will support them.
Learning and development professionals have a huge role to play in creating a game-changing culture. It’s up to learning and development professionals to ensure organisations have the right skills in the first place and work with the wider HR team to create a culture where teams can realise their potential. Only then will organisations really maximise the value of their teams.
About the author
Nathan Ott is the CEO of eg.1