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Flux Group’s Robert Safian Urged Audience to Focus on ‘Missions’ in Business

By Jamie Wilson, Associate Editor
Monday, April 16, 2018 12:22 AM
To wrap up the 2018 VM Summit, Robert Safian, founder of Flux Group and former editor-in-chief of Fast Company engaged the audience through four lessons and seven questions. His aim was to showcase the kind of tactics that define the modern company. These lesson and questions that Safian went through explored office and organization culture and the need for businesses to focus on “missions.”

His first lesson, speed matters, showcased the importance of building a culture of change within an organization. This was followed by an emphasis on youth. He said that Facebook represents what generational shifts can do. In fact, technology is moving so fast it’s creating “micro-generations” which define them.

“Digital natives do signal a completely different way with interacting with the world,” he said.

Flux Group’s Robert Safian said technology is moving so — Jamie Wilson, Associate Editor fast it’s creating “micro-generations” which define them.
He then elaborated on the importance of human contact. “We all need each other. Human contact is what drives creativity. The answers to these challenges is human contact,” he said. “Creativity and innovation happens in the gaps between silos.”

Safian then used Microsoft to illustrate his lesson of having a learning culture in business. He showed how Satya Nadella, the current CEO of Microsoft turned the company from a know-it-all into a learn-it-all culture. He went on to explain that in this time of rapid change, having and defining a mission is important—mission beats marketing.

“I’m obsessed with the idea of mission in business. It started with me looking at a particular data insight stating that workers at companies are less engaged with their work than they have been in the past. At those places where engagement is higher performance is higher.”

Safian then posed seven questions to the audience: Is this Day 1? Am I continually learning? Is what I’m doing relevant to the next generation? What do we know for certain? What can we control? What do you stand for? Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable?

All of these questions sought to get the audience thinking critically about their position in the workplace and further expanding the concept of focusing on the “mission” within a business in this age of fast-moving change.

“This is just the way the world is. You can lean into it and have fun with it,” he concluded.

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