We live in a world of unrelenting change, with economic and political agenda, global mobility or social and technological trends all driving adaptations to the way we work. Gone are the days of business as usual.
During a recent leadership challenge session, I asked our leaders and future leaders what one thing they would change.
This sparked lots of ideas, with suggestions ranging from speedier decision-making to more of a focus on digital evolution.
We were able to gain a better insight into how different leaders viewed change depending on their gender, age and location. For example, we found many of our female respondents opted for more people-focused changes based on greater collaboration and teamwork, along with more training and development opportunities for staff.
In comparison, their male counterparts were more action-oriented, suggesting the need for better technology or better processes and improved strategy.
The German poet Goethe said that: “The credit of advancing science has always been due to individuals and never to the age.” With this in mind, it was interesting to see our younger respondents were much more ambitious in their suggested changes around technology, diversification and investing in the future.
Our older respondents were more rooted in the here and now, focusing on what could be fixed and improved today, such as processes and communications.
“Bloom where you are planted” is another phrase which springs to mind when we looked at people’s views based on where they are located. For instance, our India team provided the most strategic views, wanting us to diversify and utilise technology to advance our propositions, providing a real flair for advancement in the technological world.
For our UK-based people, it was more about improved communication, community and the desire for more opportunities to use their skills and expertise.
Looking outside our business at how we can evolve, there are some useful industry studies and trends there, too. A recent report called Navigating the future, carried out by Winmark for Eversheds Sutherland, highlighted some interesting trends from the HR community preparing their agenda for the future.
Major risks identified by HR leaders include an economic downturn (59 per cent), an increase in the war for talent (67 per cent) and skills shortages (57 per cent).
Meanwhile, 82 per cent expect mobile technology to impact their future business, with 63 per cent expecting technology and greater automation to transform the way people work in their organisations.
It is more important than ever for business leaders to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, in order to see what the world is throwing our way.
Ensure you are working closely with your people to explain how you are navigating your organisation’s future, and how the changing landscape of work and technology is going to force the changes you need to make to be successful.
Lisa Winnard is HR and business services director at Sesame Bankhall Group