Instead of worrying about scaling agility as the biggest concern businesses face, should we be thinking about how to keep our creative talent as the number one issue?

We spend a great deal of time researching how companies are faring, and there is one report we don’t miss. It’s the most comprehensive report around, updated every year, called The Shift Index, from Deloitte (It’s a lot of data so take your time).

The Shift Index is designed to understand nature of changes over time, to be able to and evolve and design our organizations and practices and hopefully turn the stress into success.

It’s a comprehensive report taking into consideration over 40 years’ worth of data from North American firms for 25 metrics in three areas:

  1. Changes in the technological and political foundations
  2. Underlying market changes how flows of capital, information, and talent are changing the business landscape
  3. Impacts of these changes on competition, volatility, and performance across industries

Steve Denning called The Shift Index “the most important business study ever” in 2011. And back in 2011, our take-aways were that executives needed to focus on Servant Leadership, Customer Delight (including ideas of customer pull vs releases pushed to customers), and Agile-Scrum mechanisms involving flat hierarchy and peer-to-peer relationships.

One piece of data strikes very hard from this report: Only 11% of the workers are engaged and passionate about their work.

The Shift Index coins the term “passionate explorers” as the creative talent who leads the way in successful businesses, driving extreme performance improvements. Without nurturing and cultivating this passion companies will not see extreme performance improvements.

The report highlights passionate explorers having these three traits in common:

  1. Long-term commitment to a domain (ex: passion about a skill, specialty, or interest)
  2. Questing (ex: excited and driven by challenge)
  3. Connecting (ex: these explorers often look outside of their field to connect and learn new things)

In a nutshell: Encouraging passion of a skill, specialty or interest, encouraging folks to connect, encouraging experimentation (try something, sometimes fail, see what happens, adjust accordingly) is what we need to do to be able to grow and keep creative talent.

Call to action:

How are you, yourself, exploring passionately? (To make a change, you have to start with yourself!)

How are you helping others explore passionately?