Why right now is a great time to learn to embrace change as a leader
Change. There’s certainly a lot of it at the moment, isn’t there? The pandemic we’re all living through lures us into thinking we’ve just got our head around something, before it moves on and evolves into something completely different.
In business, this can prove pretty stressful for those of us who have to step up and lead. I recently spoke about how I’ve dealt with the ever-evolving situation with coronavirus while trying to carry on leading the team at Howarths and setting a direction for the business.
That direction is one that has changed frequently over the last few months as the pandemic has continued to dictate what our clients need support with (furlough, anyone?), how we work alongside and look after the team here, continue to develop new business and – at the same time for some of us – try to be good parents.
I’ve always been a believer in embracing change in business. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done so cautiously and in a well-researched, considered way to try and achieve the best result for the business – but I’ve embraced it nonetheless.
And I believe, as a business leader, learning to embrace change is really important when it comes to getting us through to the other side of all this.
Control can stifle innovation
If we obsess too much over having total control rather than recognising that much of what’s going on is out of our hands, we start to get so consumed in figuring out what’s going to happen next that we forget to move things forward, be innovative and recognise opportunities to adapt our businesses for the future.
A brief (albeit relatively small scale) example of the kind of openness to change I’m talking about is the launch of our recent webinar series. I’d been encouraged by my team for some time before the pandemic that we should try webinars out, that there would be a healthy demand, and that attendee numbers would be great.
I was always open to the idea but had never got over the line with it for one reason or another. I knew it would probably work really well, but it was something new for the business that I hadn’t got my head around fully embracing.
A catalyst for change
Well guess what? The pandemic hit and we had to do something different to get our expertise out there. With just a few days’ preparation, we swotted up on Zoom, sent out our first invite and launched our webinars just over two weeks ago. They’ve been a roaring success, and we did pull in the numbers.
The situation we find ourselves in now could be the catalyst for change that many of our businesses have needed for quite some time. The fact that we’re all in this together for the first (and hopefully, last) time, with fairly limited knowledge of what could happen next, means that perhaps we’ve got that little bit more flexibility to try new ideas, practice different ways of working and embrace changes that will have a positive impact on our places of work, our people and our profits for a long time to come.