Helping Organizations Develop an Innovative Workforce
Today, where uncertainty is the only certain thing, organizations need their leaders and employees to be effective with change and innovation in spite of the obstacles they may face.
Laura Goodrich is a transformation expert and one of the Top 20 Global Thought Leaders, who provides a designed process that, combines live or virtual experiences with microlearning programs. She is the co-founder of GWT Next, a company that transforms leaders and employees to be innovative in the workforce.
In 1994, Laura read an article titled “On the Cutting Edge of the Digital Age.” It grabbed a hold of her, bringing forth an epiphany about how the workplace would change in the coming decades. Industries across the globe would face unprecedented shifts in their operations: she knew leaders and employees would struggle.
Laura started off with speaking and training programs that gave both leaders and employees the tools they needed to prepare for the future of work. During this time she had some pretty incredible experiences and eventually was placed amongst the top 10 executive coaches from an international organization. From here on out, she was identified as a global thought leader in the Future of Work, Change, Emerging Technology, and Culture. These experiences led to producing transformative processes that include assessments, coaching, microlearning, specialized toolkits, and roadmaps that create measurable outcomes.
Challenges Demand Resistance
In 2001, two of Laura’s major clients chose to discontinue their contracts, and she was at a crossroads. There was a void left by post-9/11 panic and selling services of any kind felt impossible. Laura pondered over this question for what felt like eons. But, deep within her, she felt called to dig deeper, to truly understand “what’s next.” As soon as she quieted her mind, the strangest of things happened. I got the idea to do television and the idea would not leave me. After that, she got the idea to do television and the idea would not leave her. She thinks “we all have weird, fleeting thoughts; they often go away as quickly as they come. However, this idea was not one of those.”
Through a long string of opportunities, Laura broke into the industry and eventually found a producer to work with. The team began writing concepts for TV shows. One of them caught the attention of a network, and the company was asked to cut a demo.
Joining Hands with a Proficient
Laura’s now business partner, Greg Stiever, an Emmy Award-winning producer and director, produced the segment. Long story short: it didn’t work out. But shortly thereafter, he asked to meet for coffee and share an idea. Both Laura and Greg immediately got along and began to build strategies on how to pair their talents.
In fact, this meeting led to their first film together: Seeing Red Cars. After that, Laura wrote a book by the same name, which Forbes called a “must-read” for leaders wishing to accomplish positive change in the workplace. She adds “We created a few more workplace training films, which were subtitled and sold internationally.”
GWT Next has a unique process that addresses the challenges faced by leaders, teams, and organizations in a change-dynamic environment. Everything can be done virtually, which includes assessments, team and leader coaching, microlearning, and accountability tools to track behavior metrics on an interactive technology platform. The processes are entirely focused on mindset, preparing for the future of work, transformation, and leading teams remotely. All of this is dependent on the company’s research and keen observations of human behavior.
First in the Market
For GWT Next, there weren’t many toe-to-toe competitors in the marketplace when the company started. That may sound great, but as being one of the first ones to show up, it had to do quite a bit of heavy lifting. Things were like this for quite some time. As a result, the company had to create high-quality processes and products from scratch without many points of reference.
“But we’re proud of what we’ve done so far,” says Laura. The company’s disciplined approach to researching emerging technologies, global connectedness, demographic shifts, and the changing expectations of employees has allowed it to truly distinguish itself. The goal, from the get-go, has been to empower leaders and employees to transform the underlying assumptions of the workplace and stoke the flames of innovation.
Be Real and Focused
According to Laura, focus on real, solvable challenges. There is a lot that needs to be fixed and one can’t possibly get to all of it. She advises to upcoming businesswomen “Be realistic about what you can do. I’d also recommend playing to your strengths and partner with those who can compensate for where you fall short. Once you’ve figured out your area of focus and have found a good team, be ready to work harder and longer than you’ve ever imagined. But despite the pain and difficulty, you should be finding deep meaning in your work. That’s what gets you through.”
Laura asserts “We were very early to market and found significant challenges in finding the right market and a fit for our products.” The tipping point was the convergence of these five things: improved digital platforms, adoption of those platforms, the right partners, and the arrival of new, virtual solutions and the necessity of remote work worldwide that revealed new opportunities for the company. She further adds “All of these things allowed me to make good on my passion to empower as many leaders as possible and truly make a difference.”
This article was originally published in Insight Success Magazine.