Are your leaders equipped for change?
By Jacquie Smallwood, Managing Director, AROHA
At the October IEP AGM it was fantastic to hear about the year’s achievements, particularly the focus on development of frontline staff.
In this era of rapid and uncertain change, where the only certainty is uncertainty, much is outside our control; government policy, welfare reform, the culture and capability of new partners and the characteristics and needs of customers. As more information becomes available there will be increasing demand on leaders and frontline staff to respond quickly and effectively to change, against a backdrop of reduced resources and increased competition.
I am therefore delighted there is support available for frontline staff to build their skills and capabilities by being mentored by an IEP Fellow. The opportunity to learn from professionals with significant industry experience is invaluable and will provide a different perspective from the formal training often provided. In my 30 years of business everyone I know who has worked with a coach or mentor has found this experience extremely beneficial, as a result of new opportunities and insights, improved self-awareness and resilience and ultimately improved performance.
However, in my experience. this support is often not available for leaders at a time when it is most needed and would bring most value. You should be asking - ‘what do our leaders need to enable them to react effectively to changes around them and ultimately ensure success in these dynamic environments?’ Your leaders are responsible for steering the organisation away from a fixed inflexible approach to a dynamic way of working. A focus on equipping your leaders to embrace change will give you a leading edge and result in quicker more appropriate solutions and improved performance.
To improve your chances of future success start preparing for change now. Currently our leaders focus on either driving performance, designing the customer experience or delivery model, making the ‘numbers’ work, forging partnerships and trying to second guess policy and ministerial intent. Little time is allocated to leadership development through coaching and mentoring, which would result in greater self-awareness, the ability to think rapidly and creatively when under stress and adapt to changing business priorities and situations which are all essential for success. This approach cannot be put off until the ‘bids are in’.
Many successful organisations such as Google, Apple, Virgin, who turned to leadership coaching during difficult times, subsequently adopted it as a ‘way of life’ to increase performance and the capability of their people. Coaching is not just about developing greater self-awareness, it provides tools and techniques needed for self-management and self-development, of which a big part is emotional agility and maturity.
Whilst coaching is individually focused and the solutions bespoke they are always about improving results in the context of work. This may take the form of one to one coaching or leadership coaching for the whole executive team followed by individual sessions over a defined period. Team coaching helps to align the individual, the team and their business goals. In all instances increased learning and positive change occur as a result of the relationship with the coach or mentor.
How in our complex, ever-changing and fast world are your leaders going to continue to add value and stay ahead of the competition?
Jacquie has over 30 years experience as a senior leader in the private, voluntary and public sectors in roles helping to transform the lives of the most disadvantaged in society. Jacquie is committed to suporting business leaders and their teams to lead more effectively and build more prosperous businesses and has delivered across the UK as a chairman, board member and senior executive reporting to the board. Jacquie has spent her career increasing revenue, winning new business, managing cultural and organisational change within a number of organisations as well as during mergers and acquisitions. Jacquie feels that organisations would benefit from more candour, deeper relationships, improved communication and pro-active development of talent within and she is passionate about retaining talent in the sector.
Jacquie offers leadership team training, individual and team coaching and mentoring and strategic advisory work to boards and organisations as well as business consultancy.
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