“In the end, it’s all about the people …”

During any period of forced disruption the pace of change and development is accelerated, often at an unimaginable pace. In today’s Covid-19 context, new technologies are emerging, and we are adapting existing routines and processes to fit the challenges we face enabling us to learn and evolve to survive, cope and thrive.  However, the pace and success of that change will be heavily shaped and influenced by some major people factors. These are:

  • Culture: the way we do stuff around here
  • Skills: the technical and management skills that exist organisationally and individually
  • Attributes: a quality, feature or characteristic that exists at an individual or organisational level

Underpinning the above is the difference between success and failure.  That is leadership. Any crisis demands a style of leadership that is very different to the norm. Whilst the fundamental characteristics will be constant, certain traits will be elevated and be more in demand.

So, in simple terms the success you and your organisation derives from any disruption is determined by your people. Yet history is littered with examples of failure caused by this obvious factor being ignored or underestimated. Why is this? Studies and our own experience can shed light on this, as structure/process/routines are all logical and can be modelled, evidenced, constructed, while people are unpredictable/emotional/irrational and therefore cannot.  Well, maybe not, however we can model those characteristics that are required to suit a particular context, we can then assess scientifically the culture/skills and attributes that are needed, and then we can do the same with leadership. Many organisations do and certainly are doing now, with one eye on the future to ensure they have the capability required to come out ahead of the curve and their competitors.

There are some simple, practical steps to take, the first of which is a list of questions to ask yourself before diving into any set of solutions.  Start by mapping what the future may look like for you and your organisation and then ask:

  • “How relevant will what you do be and the way you do it?”
  • “How much will you need to transform, adapt, and pivot?”
  • “What will be different, how will it differ?”
  • “What will you need in order to transform successfully – is it investment, skills or culture?”
  • “Do you have the right mix of experience, skills, attitude, and agility from Board to shop floor to deliver the transformation required?”
  • “What’s the gap and how big is it at an individual, team and collective level? How do you bridge/close it?”
  • “What should you be doing now to make sure those critical personnel in your organisation, and the customers who will be vital to your future success, are fully engaged and with you, for the short and long term?”

Underpinning all these questions will be “Do I have the right people to get me to where I need to be?” By answering that question, identifying the consequences of your analysis, and then implementing the solutions, you will be taking control, preparing for the future, getting ahead, and beating your competitors.

Finally, let’s not forget that post-Covid, all leaders will be judged on how they acted, the results they achieved, and the new foundations they laid for the future. Now is the time to look ahead and set yourself up to succeed.

If you would like to confidentially discuss how Norman Broadbent Group could help you overcome your business or people challenges, please contact Nick Behan on +44 (0) 0207 484 0106 or via nick.behan@normanbroadbent.com