Are you comparing apples when gathering information or are you getting distracted by a banana or pineapple when looking to make decisions on #yourjourneyahead ?
We’re all looking for positive news at this time. When it comes to finding a world we would like see more of, New Zealand is all too often elevated to the top of the list as an example of why can’t we be like them.
Undeniably decisions have been made that have helped the NZ story, but their situation is far different to that of say the UK. With a population around the same size as that found in the Birmingham Metro area, a land mass twice that of England and it’s location in the South Pacific far different to the travel crossroads/hub of somewhere like the UK, one might suggest that there journey has been an easier one to take than ours.
Key for individuals and leaders alike, is to look to reduce the noise around us. We need to focus on what we can control and influence and then own the decisions we make as we look to remain relevant to those we lead, influence or serve.
I was really interested to read the recent post by Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon about how she and her team are looking to navigate the current lockdown Working practice changes at Channel 4
So much of what Alex and leaders like her are doing to lead their businesses through this period of more unknowns than knowns positively resonates with me. But as a leader/influencer should we be looking to lead with a little more positivity? If we are seen to be pessimistic and down then won’t this potentially negatively influence the mindset of those we lead?
Yes these are undoubtedly challenging times – one look/listen to the news drums this home on a daily basis. But as leaders/influencers, isn’t it our role to suck it up and look to be more positive to those we lead, influence and care for.
I appreciate that for some ‘working in isolation is ineffective, lonely and breeds anxiety’ and we have an obligation to support and protect their wellbeing and mental health. But on the flip side, enforced changes in the way we work have provided an opportunity and empowered many to gain back control and ownership of their lives by not having to fit in with outdated working practices (i.e. having to be in an office when there is little to no commercial reason to be there (full-time)).
Please do not think I’m being critical in any way here of Emma as a leader. For me, Channel 4’s move to no meeting Fridays and daily lunch breaks is all about positive leadership in delivering relevance in the new way of work. But using the planned changes at Channel 4 as an example, I wanted to explore how to ‘sell’ leadership decisions in a different way – i.e more positively!
‘working in isolation is ineffective, lonely and breeds anxiety’ versus ‘as a creative business we want to empower your wellbeing and creativity, so we’re looking to give you time not to schedule things. Time to think, breathe, catch-up and space to be creative.’
With many expecting the current UK lockdown to extend far beyond the mid-February review, the continued world of remote working is here to stay.
Being critical of myself, maybe I’m just naïve in looking to see the world as I do in a more half full rather than a half empty way. What do I know? What I do passionately believe is that as a leader, realistic and relevant positivity breeds positivity in those you lead on #yourjourneyahead
The ever changing demand on the delivery of relevant accounting services
Leadership within the accounting profession are continually being told that they have to change to remain relevant, and that the days of those firms that focus on providing traditional services are over.
The reality is that there is a lot of misunderstanding about this transition of offering which most commentators and consultants see as a small step for mankind, but for the majority of the firms the experience is more of a giant leap for the profession.
The accounting profession has seen much change in 2020, the majority of which was enforced rather than strategic, but the general opinion is that as a profession it has done better than most.
As 2020 comes to end, firms are reviewing what they will look like in 2021 and beyond on many levels, not least how they will work (i.e. in the office, at home or a hybrid model) but also how they can best support their clients.
‘Now is the time to be innovative and creative in the way accounting firms look to deliver true value’
Now is the time to be innovative and creative in the way accounting firms look to deliver true value to both their teams and clients alike, as both are questioning the true value and relationship they receive.
My fear for the profession is that it is going to lurch from what is a fairly bland and undifferentiated position of the provider of compliance services to a maybe less bland but similarly undifferentiated world of provider of advisory services.
From the results of two recent independent surveys on potential advisory offerings and needs, it is interesting to see that there does not seem to be total alignment in terms of what the profession believes are the top priorities of the market and what the pains and/or needs of market (i.e. what CFO’s who are reaching out to the profession for support) actually are.
For many, these are challenging times but there are real opportunities out there for those that have a true close relationship with their clients and are really listening to, understanding and then delivering relevant support offerings.
Leadership within the accounting profession need to take ownership of #yourjourneyahead, and the primary focus needs to be a shift from being seen as historians and the keeper/purveyor of past data and transitioning to being seen as futurists.
This transition does not mean throwing away what has got them to where they are today, rather the need to be open to listen and learn from others on what their relevance might be tomorrow.
‘leadership within accounting firms need to stop thinking like accountants when building their firm’s strategy’
When planning #yourjourneyahead, leadership within accounting firms need to stop thinking like accountants when building their firm’s strategy to be more market relevant. When you consider how other sectors build strategy, they reach out to their accountants and other external advisors to gain insight, support and guidance – so why do the majority of accounting firms not follow this example?
As already mentioned, 2021 and beyond offer real opportunities for those with the right mindset. Accounting firm leaders need to take ownership and reach out to others (outside of your firm) to help understand and live their story of #yourjourneyahead in delivering greater client relevance and value.
Many people have looked to define what leadership is in more books than anyone can find the time to read.
In the world we find ourselves in leadership has never been more important, but what defines a true leader?
“The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.” – Perter Drucker “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” – John Maxwell “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” – Kevin Kruse
7 years on, and as businesses seek to deal with the challenges and opportunities of what can only be described as one of the most disruptive periods in a generation or (potentially more), true leadership has never been more important.
Developing from the themes above, my view on leadership is that it is a process of social influence founded on shared values that empowers others to individually excel while looking to maximise their combined efforts in achieving a clearly defined purpose.”
A Martin Luenendonk article published in Forbes last year stated that 37% of meetings are considered to be adding no value to the organization and that the average middle level manager spends around 35% of their time in meetings.
According to a study by Bain & Company organizations spend about 15% of their time in meetings.
Research by Infographic showed that 91% of employees have daydreamed during a meeting, 39% have reported sleeping during a meeting, 45% have felt overwhelmed by the number of meetings they had to attend, 73% have done other work during a meeting, and 47% of employees have complained that meetings are the number one time waster at the workplace.
The above were prior to Covid-19 and the associated changes in working practices and the en masse move to Zoom, MS Teams and other platforms.
Clearly video conference resources have supported the continued connection and collaboration of teams. However, without a strategic approach to the new way of remote/flexible working and the continued use of these online communication tools, there is every chance that even more valuable time is being wasted in having meetings for meetings sake. #workingfromhome#strategy#yourjourneyahead
Considering a clearly defined strategy as a starting point, many accounting and law firms are quick to promote and talk about their purpose, values and vision (story) but rarely truly live to these ideals. All to often leadership teams look to these critical foundations to success as a DIY/tick box exercise.
By failing to get the purpose, vision and story right, they fail (among other things) to ignite and sustain passion within their people and in turn do not have empowered teams. Accounting and law firms tend to focus too much on technology and process because these are within the comfort zone of the technical mindset/competencies of most firm leaders.
Get it right on purpose, values and having a relevant story, your firm will be agile (by creating firm wide engagement and trust towards change) and this will also lead to increasing your reputation and visibility within your market(s) as a firm of choice.
The last 6 months have been transformational for us all, what with #Covid19 and more recently #BlackLivesMatter. Both have hugely negative sides and more unknowns than knowns, which society is still very much in the early tentative steps of understanding and dealing with. The big question must be where were the leaders, whether within government, business, or within the community/society before the outbreak in China and events in the US?
In a world which seems to be made more of followers than true leaders, how will the journey ahead look?
Governments seem to be stuck in a ‘sound bite political arena’ as they seek short-term relevance and electability within their term(s).
All too many within business and society are quick to react to the here and now. We all need to take a step back and ask whether more could/should have been done before they/we were forced to react. Hindsight is always a marvelous thing, but as we consider what the world used to look like we realise that the signs were there. True leaders were making their mark in those days.
Challenging times for all, but there is a real opportunity to make things better within the workplace and wider society, so it’s time to take ownership of #yourjourneyahead
‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning’. Wise words by Winston Churchill and as the business world looks to move forward post the imposed lockdowns around the world, Boards and Executive Teams need to influence and lead their businesses to the new way of work. A recent McKinsey & Company article highlighted the need for Boards to coach and advise its management teams and to:
· Take time to recognize how the people who depend on the business feel · Have aspirations about the post Covid-19 world but build the resilience to make them a reality · Strengthen capabilities to engage and work with regulators, governments and other stakeholders · Watch out for non Covid-19 risks and make sure to carve out time to dedicate to the familiar risks of the business that have not gone away
While many challenges remain, opportunities are available for those businesses that have the right culture, strategy and leadership teams and an agility to meet the ever changing needs of the market. Relevance has to be at the core of #yourjouneyahead
Businesses from all sectors have faced many challenges from having to deal with changes in working practices over recent months. The results from an Upwork.com survey recently published in The Wall Street Journal highlight issues that many if not all business have faced.
The majority if not all the issues listed in terms of what have worked poorly can be associated to two key things
1) a lack of business continuity planning and:
2) poor leadership.
It is interesting, and some might say not surprising, that productivity was seen to have improved by more respondents than not. Businesses need to realise that they now find themselves in a new world that demands that they continue their journey to a new working mindset that reflects the ever changing needs of their clients and employees. Businesses simply cannot go back to any state of ‘normal’ if they want to have a tomorrow.