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Cocktails on the Beach?

Cocktails mtime20181029134619

2019 is going to be defining year, and I’m not just talking about the looming-large threat of a hard Brexit. It’ll be a defining year for many reasons: finally achieving the much talked about transformation, embedding the changes that have driven leaders to distraction for ages, or simply delivering the value the board believes is there for the taking. Our members of The Henley Partnership are also talking about strategic partnerships (often game changing, like our own collaboration with EY on the Apprenticeship Levy). There are joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions – the natural way to increase market share in a tough climate and hard market. And we’re all under threat of disruption, where someone dumber (but probably braver) than us pinches something, or customers, from under our noses.

All I’m saying is that big stuff is happening, whether it’s planned or opportunistic. Much like my recently repaired back, that still grumbles when the weather’s turning damp and colder, I can feel those things in the air. Other than expecting the dark mornings and the changing seasons, no one is certain about the future, but 2019 could be the best and toughest twelve months of our working lives.

This makes it time for leaders to truly lead – which means inspiring their people about the future and keeping them engaged with change. Picking on the most senior leaders for a moment, why can’t most explain their company’s vision to their people? Without giving their staff a clear sense of purpose, and at least a hazy view of how the business will look and feel in the future, people will think they’re working stupidly hard for absolutely no discernible reason. There will be too much perspiration and not enough inspiration, and the risk is that (eventually) people will withdraw their labour or reduce discretionary effort. It’s a bit like my wife – if she didn’t look forward to the next big holiday, one that includes sunshine and cocktails on the beach, then she’d probably give up work and stay at home.

So what about engaging people with change? Most leaders have accepted that change is indeed the only constant (and if they haven’t, then they should get with the programme). The trouble is that many of their people aren’t there yet. Staff don’t understand where the changes take them personally and professionally. While convincing them, leaders need to create that change momentum as they spin a ridiculous number of other plates, all while being the ‘right kind of leader’ – purposeful and authentic, adept in Dr David Pendleton’s three domains (strategic, interpersonal and operational) and changing their style to suit even the strangest of circumstances.

What are we doing about all of that in The Henley Partnership next year? We’ve responded by providing a broad range of masterclass-level learning interventions to suit that 2019 agenda. So whether you’re looking for immediate support for a specific group of directors and senior managers, or something new and different to add to your talent offer, why not join us at The Henley Partnership?

Published 29 October 2018

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