How we live now

Guy Sorrill

Regardless of the latest restrictions and the challenges that lie ahead, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Albeit a light that comes in and out of focus for many. There is now a future where we can start to heal, to unite, renew and to plan for a more certain outlook. If 2020 taught us one thing, it was to expect the unexpected – to be prepared to change, adapt at a moment’s notice. A quality I am sure we did not know we needed to possess as critically as we do now. This has been equally applicable for organisations as it has for individuals – with business plans and personal goals alike upturned and forward planning a challenge. What has this, perhaps necessary, blip in the history of the world taught us? What do we want the post-COVID working world to feel like? Are there elements of how we live now, that we want to continue with?

Leaders of Change

Leaders of organisations have had to rapidly adapt to a new (and welcome) world, where they must trust their teams! This has fast-tracked archiving of old opinions, and organisations must ensure they have (if they had not already) clear measurable goals set for everyone; a focus on outcomes and not presenteeism.

So, what is left for Leaders? Leaders have always been the champions of change in their organisation and this has never been more essential than in a post-pandemic world. Leaders that successfully navigated the complex COVID waters, and will now need to set realistic, progressive, and compelling visions of the future growth for the organisations, all the while acting as visible leaders of said vision and associated change. Leaders may need to show new skills such as empathy towards their teams and will need to be trained in how to do this effectively.

It is easier to feel that you have a grasp on what is happening in your company when you can look over and see your colleagues surrounding you. It might be fair to say many people have up until now underestimated the potential of their teams and the ability to have full autonomy of their workload.

I wonder, if the pandemic had not happened, would we have eventually reached this point anyway? Or would we have clung to what we know instead of trying something new?

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Digital Transformation

Our rapid adoption of distributed working in 2020 and 2021 has only been made possible by technology. Ten years ago, even five, if we had experienced the pandemic, we would not have been able to replicate the remote working that so many have experienced. The need for transformation through the introduction of new technologies is not something that can be ignored, it is an ongoing change that organisations need to be prepared for. Organisations however need to ensure that their investment in technology are not ‘dead dollars’ where the value of the innovation is not fully realised. We are all aware of the effect new technology can have on a company, diving headfirst into its adoption without mapping out its potential. Although the speed of implementation needs to be swift, the attention to achieving outcomes needs to be thorough.

We must ensure a human-centred approach to innovation is adopted, ensuring people stay at the heart of any technology-enabled transformation. People have helped get organisations through the upheaval of the pandemic, and people will drive growth in the coming months and years. Let us not exclude them in the rush to digitise organisations, but better yet, utilise their skills and let technology take over the intricate details of our work with finer precision.

In summary

When the pandemic started, and after the initial shock, many saw this as a huge opportunity for us to listen to our planet and to change, as individuals, as organisations and as a society. We may not have yet achieved some of the change we have dreamed of, however as we proceed further into 2021, we still have an opportunity to deliver meaningful and lasting change, starting with us as individuals, through our organisations and hopefully through that, across the world. The global pandemic has reinforced that we are a truly global society. My hope for 2021 is that it will bring simpler, smarter ways of working, improving lives and reminding us of what is important – a better balance, clarity and mindset for both employees and customers alike.

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