It has been intriguing seeing so many companies adapt to the difficulties of the last year. So many of the independent traders, when they have been allowed to, have increased their product lines, changed their offerings, improved their way of operating and have adapted to their customers’ needs. A lot of the ideas arise out of the Pandemic and some of course we can follow through coming out of the pandemic too.
Last year, I attempted to become purely a virtual coach. Then I included walking coaching which went down a treat. From June onwards, I will be welcoming people back into my coaching room, probably travelling up to London again and visiting clients. I don’t see myself travelling as much as I used to do. How has your business changed during the pandemic? What new ways of working can you continue to use going forward?
Many companies added products to their portfolio. Many tied their budget strings very tightly on things like marketing and training, cutting their cloth accordingly. Some companies worried that working from home would be a strain for employees and could negatively impact the company. Decisions were made by some to proactively communicate with employees, trying to put them at ease. Employees, worried for the future and needed clear messaging. Presumably this is the same as we come out of the pandemic.
Perversely, the outside issues brought by the pandemic made the job of change easier becoming the norm. In chaos there is always opportunity. Communication is critical and many companies have tried to be more transparent. It will be interesting to see how much management now trust employees going forward using a hybrid system of working from home and being in the office. Some organisations in the financial sector have said they want to return to the traditional office. Consulting firm PWC has said it will allow its 22000 British employees to work flexibly, with half their time in the office. A number of technology companies have said they will allow employees to work remotely indefinitely, if this is the case, how will this work for both the employee and the company? How many companies will just go back to what they have always done? How many companies will set up with no offices at all? If they do, how will they build a company culture?
How are leaders going to react to the changes and opportunities going forward after the pandemic?
In a recent survey of the director community, 96% of respondents rated continuing professional development as important. Furthermore, respondents identified strategy development and implementation, leadership and digital skills in their top five learning priorities. Three quarters of companies will be keeping increased remote working after Covid, so virtual pathways are here to stay.
“The value of leadership flexibility during COVID-19 cannot be understated. I’ve seen struggling companies switch trajectories through their ability to adapt to rapidly changing demands of the pandemic world – a virtual leadership doesn’t mean a disconnected one.”
EBW Global Senior Partner, Stephen Walker.
Strong leadership starts by looking at ourselves. We must learn to lead ourselves, before we lead others. That means understanding our own wellbeing, our mental health, our physical health. If you can’t understand how to create a healthy work-life balance for ourselves, how are we going to show others? I know I find it difficult to stop, think, reflect and redefine how I do things and I am not a leader anymore, with all of a leaders’ pressures. Leaders, need to find time to stop, think and take care of themselves. Self-reflection needs to become an inbuilt habit that becomes part of their routine. Self-awareness is part of the emotional intelligence which is so important to develop to become a good leader.
Gordon Wilson, CEO of Advanced as a medium-sized company “to achieve our goals, we must be agile and creative.
Finally, Naushad Jivraj, CEO of Queensway Group “has made connecting with his team a priority, including having one-to-one meetings in parks to ensure a face-to-face relationship”
If any of the above themes have hit a chord with you and you want to stop, reflect and explore by Zoom, telephone or walking in the countryside please get in touch with me, firstname.lastname@example.org