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A Third Wave is Coming —and It’s Not What You Think

A looming wave of change bigger than any other is coming for business — and it’s bigger, faster and more complex than anything we’ve seen before.

It’s not just about adjusting to a “new normal,” reducing a real estate footprint or phased re-opening of facilities in the wake of a global pandemic. It’s about transforming how employees work, think and behave in ways that protect people and business from risk, and drive performance.

Think about it. The first wave of change forced us to address a global pandemic. We quickly shuttered operations to protect employees and customers as Covid-19 spread, and found ways of creating some measure of continuity. Check.

Our second wave is about planning for, and executing, re-opening. Depending on whose estimate we believe, anywhere from 25-40% of employees working from an office before the pandemic will not return — at least full time — to an office. Ever. We’re creating hybrid solutions for employees working from many more locations longer term, examining policies and planning for issues that range from real estate contraction to digital collaboration. Check again.

But there is a looming Third Wave that is much bigger and more complex than any other in our lifetime. This Third Wave — one of cultural transformation — has speed and power behind it unlike any wave that has preceded it. The global quest for racial equality – Black Lives Matter — is driving every organization on the planet to take meaningful action at a time when they are literally and physically less tied together than at any point in modern history.

It’s about diversity and inclusion, yes, but it’s also equity. How can organizations drive new cultural norms with workforces that increasingly are not located together? How can employees who don’t have a choice to work from home feel they are equal to those who have the “luxury” of that choice?

But wait, there’s more. Behind the long- term solutions for Covid-19 and racial justice  are other fundamental questions for business that are screaming for attention. How do companies drive behaviors, instill cultural norms, support employee brand ambassadors, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements in this new world?

Answers to all of these questions will take the shape of new strategies for driving culture, new leadership behaviors, new communication channels for employees, and new tools. And it starts with taking a hard look at how we’re prepared for The Third Wave. If you want to start, click here for a simple self-assessment. Every business has a choice when faced with a big, powerful, fast wave of change: feel its crushing power, or ride it like a boss. Those who choose to ride it inevitably come out on top.

Want to learn more? Join us on Wednesday, July 1st, from 9:00am – 10:00am PT / noon ET. We’re launching this exciting new initiative via a webinar featuring several Consultants Collective executive consultants, advisors and coaches. Register here.

Mark Dollins

Mark Dollins

Mark Dollins is president of North Star Communications Consulting, a consultancy with core capabilities in communications talent development, and in employee/change communications strategy. Founded in 2011, North Star has provided communications consulting services to clients that include Visa, Toyota, Louis Vuitton, Xerox and Keep America Beautiful, among others. Mark’s previous corporate experience spans more than 30 years with Fortune 500 companies. It includes serving as head of Executive & Global Employee Communications for DuPont, where he created and executed communication strategies that engaged 35,000 employees in the Company’s growth initiatives, and empowered 8,000 people leaders to measurably engage their teams during the company’s $130B merger with Dow. In 2018, PR Week awarded DuPont its highest honor for employee communications in North America, nominated his team’s work for best campaign of the year, and bestowed its “High Commendation” award for employee communications in its 2018 Global Communications competition. Mark previously spent 17 years in executive communication leadership roles with PepsiCo. He was SVP and Chief Communications Officer at Pepsi Beverages and PepsiCo Americas Foods; and SVP of global internal communications, among other senior corporate roles. He led communications for PepsiCo’s 2011 acquisition of its anchor bottlers and ran merger communications for PepsiCo’s acquisition of The Quaker Oats Company, where he was VP of Corporate Communications. While at Quaker, he led both Corporate Communications and brand communications for Quaker, Life and Cap’n Crunch cereals, Aunt Jemima syrups and mixes, Rice-A-Roni, Gatorade and Tropicana juices. He also led corporate public relations, internal communications, government affairs, philanthropy and community relations. His career with PepsiCo followed 10 years in the energy sector, running Corporate Communications for Northern Indiana Public Service Company, and leading employee communications for Indiana Michigan Power/American Electric Power. Mark began his career in broadcast and print journalism, working with ABC News and other print news outlets. He currently serves on the national advisory council of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, served for eight years on LSU’s journalism advisory board for the Manship School of Communications. He received a bachelor’s degree in Radio/TV from The George Washington University, and a master’s degree in organizational communications from Purdue University. He also is a certified USA Wrestling coach, and two-time national USA Wrestling masters folk style champion.

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