Business Transformation

Leadership in the Age of Oros

Jason English, Chief Eco-System Officer and co-founder of CG Tech
Jason English, Chief Eco-System Officer and co-founder of CG Tech

The year 2021 proved to be an interesting one for managing people, in person and virtually. As leaders scrambled to secure meaningful ways to connect their teams, it quickly became apparent that many of the traditional approaches to attracting and retaining talent were out of date. The pandemic became a mirror, revealing the challenges faced when ushering in a new age where culture and people sit at the core of business success. So how does one navigate cultural change in the digital age?

Jason English, the Chief Ecosystem Officer for CG Tech, an investment holding company with interests in a variety of traditional industries, believes a new vision goes hand-in-hand with cultural change and the uncovering of something English refers to as ‘Oros.’

“The answer for leaders looking to succeed in the current market has been here all along,” explains Jason English, who is also writing a book on the subject.

In ‘The Oros Effect’ English describes the transition from the Industrial Age to the Knowledge Age and now, post pandemic, the Oros Age, which is essentially a move back to realising the importance of people in organisations.

Oros, as English explains it, is simply your ideas and vision. Successful leaders are those who are able to effectively transfer their Oros to those working around them. The idea, based on a South African cordial of the same name, is helping Jason English to power a period of tremendous growth for CG Tech, at a time when many other companies are struggling.

While Oros is the term Jason has coined, the desire for a more people-centric approach to business is one that has been gaining steam since even before the pandemic. According to a McKinsey report published back in June 2021, Chief Human Resources Officers in Europe concurred that a shift to more employee-focused policies “will help them to attract and develop talent.” 

With one CHRO of a global retailer stating in the article that, “As HR, we have to approach our employees much more deliberately.” Before adding, “If we really want the best in the field, we need to know what they actually want. If every employee feels discernibly better about their work, that really will deliver higher performance for clients and employers overall.”

It’s a viewpoint Jason English and the CG Tech group also subscribe to. By leveraging the latest in digital technologies to disrupt traditional industries, CG Tech continues to expand their portfolio, entering new ventures and territories around the globe. By employing an ecosystem approach to investing, CG Tech ensures their companies work towards a common goal instead of in competition. Their Board of Directors is made up of owner-operators of their subsidiaries, promoting a team atmosphere that encourages openness and transparency. 

For Jason English success in what he refers to as the “Age of Oros,” relies on three key elements.

Recalibrate Your Vision

In a post Covid era we need to accept that “business as usual” no longer exists. Leaders will need to adjust their vision and begin building towards a common purpose, one that is set in the new reality of the market.

“Rather than pretending the last two years didn’t happen, we need to learn from them to help power forward,” says English. “The early days of the pandemic were difficult for everyone. But what we need to do is take that vulnerability and grow from it.”    

This includes creating an environment where teams can be open in sharing their challenges and concerns in a way they might not have done so before.

Engage Directly

In the past, traditional people and management strategies have sometimes gotten in the way of direct engagement. According to research by Bain & Company, an employee who feels engaged and inspired at work is 125 percent more productive than one who just feels satisfied.

The pandemic magnified the necessity for many to find a better work/life balance. Work from home took a toll on the employee experience, exposing the challenges to cultivating culture remotely. The need to have a clear and defined culture is proving valuable as the hybrid working model becomes more prominent in a post-Covid world.

Remote work is something CG Tech was utilising even before the pandemic. Employing the use of virtual reality to help train oil and gas engineers in a controlled environment. What was originally an in-house solution for one of their companies, quickly became vital to the group as a whole during the pandemic.

“Virtuworx is a digital platform that can be used to create a custom-built environment where people can work, train or even just meet up,” explains Jason English.

Created by The Virtulab, CG Tech’s digital arm, Virtuworx has been used by a number of outside companies looking to create a virtual world that allows people to interact similar to the way they would in real life. CG Tech has used it to foster ongoing conversations within their own teams.

“We’re hosting monthly town hall meetings, conferencing and even creating virtual water cooler moments. People can engage in a big group or direct message individuals,” says English.

Learning to bring leaders and employees together for a real dialogue, whether it’s remote or in person, strengthens engagement which in turn leads to better productivity and retention.     

Speed Up Learning and Decision Making

There is evidence that supports the idea that we can learn more during times of stress. Understanding the difference between eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress) can be key to unlocking success for your teams. In a TEDx talk, Eve Poole discusses how we can conquer our fears to be better leaders. Stating that people under pressure learn faster because cognitive functioning is increased, and more permanent because memories are tagged with emotions.

Jason English values stress along the same lines, but with an added kick of Oros.

“At CG Tech we encourage our people to up-skill. Taking on new opportunities and seeing how our existing capabilities can be deployed,” he explains.

Whether it’s VR and drone technologies or utilising the latest in rapid construction innovations, CG Tech likes to push the boundaries within traditional industries to create disruption. But they also place a heavy focus on encouraging employees to make decisions faster. 

“The most important step we have taken is to empower our teams to make decisions in real time. 

In the Age of Oros, an increase in engagement and confidence in resolve will lead teams to better agility and increased productivity. As businesses look for ways to adapt in the current climate, a more human approach to leadership will be needed. Those who are able to accurately capture their Oros and transfer it within their teams look set to reap the rewards.

Have you read?

Best CEOs In the World Of 2022.
TOP Citizenship by Investment Programs, 2022.
Top Residence by Investment Programs, 2022.
Global Passport Ranking, 2022.
The World’s Richest People (Top 100 Billionaires, 2022).
Jamie Dimon: The World’s Most Powerful Banker.

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