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How to Lead With Intention Amid Transformation

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A woman wearing a hijab and a white pantsuit stands in front of a group and gives a presentation. There are windows behind her, through which can be seen trees.

Businesses are reinventing in response to COVID-19. The new shape of work reflects a focus on values critical to business success. More flexible, sustainable work models and business practices are the keys to helping companies address challenges. The New Shape of Work podcast addresses the challenges and uncertainty in the workplace and focuses on how we transition to a more agile workforce for the future. 

In this episode, Kate Bravery, global advisory solutions and insights leader at Mercer interviews Sarena Lin, chief transformation and talent officer for Bayer about how, at its core, workplace transformation is about people. Sarena explains how starting the transformation journey by considering people’s needs and workplace cultures will help define the path forward.

 On intentional transformation:

Transformation is more than just business model transformation. It has to start with thinking about what [are] the needs of our people and the need of the culture, and how do we move forward? … What kind of organization do we want to build? What kind of talent of the future do we really need to have? And be specific about it. And this is not just a slogan. 

On becoming a skills-based organization:

We are renaming the traditional strategic workforce planning to strategic skills planning. The planning we need to do is … planning what kind of skill sets I need and how do I make sure that we have people potentially leveraging, building on different sets of skills to fulfill those various challenges. … Again, moving away from how many people I need for this department to what kind of skill set and how do I quantify the skillset I need for this particular type of task?

On remote leadership:

This is a perfect time for us to continue to upskill our leaders. … The way we think about this is creating the virtual experience in a way that leaders understand: What does it mean for them to experience a virtual environment, yet be able to drive for that higher performance and higher inspiration for their teams? 

We are indeed creating virtual learning platforms and peer learning groups and cohorts through a virtual setting and connecting different leaders in different parts of the world to help support each other virtually. In some ways, it’s an experiment for us. … Some of the early feedback is we can indeed create energy without having to meet physically. 

Kate Bravery

Global Advisory Solutions & Insights Leader at Mercer

Kate Bravery is a Global Advisory Solutions & Insights Leader for Mercer. She has more than 20 years of experience in human capital consulting and helping organizations achieve a talent advantage through people. Bravery has expertise in people strategy, talent management, assessment/leadership development and HR process design.

Sarena Lin

Chief Transformation and Talent Officer at Bayer

Sarena Lin has been a member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG since February 1, 2021. As Chief Transformation and Talent Officer, she is responsible for Human Resources, Strategy and Business Consulting. Lin is also Labor Director of Bayer AG. Previously, Lin served as President of Elanco USA as well as Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Global Marketing.

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