At the recent Digital Leaders Week conference, I was privileged to share a platform with Ben Towers and Eva Applebaum for our discussion around diversity and mental wellbeing within the workplace. The discussion itself was very rich and rewarding, but today I wanted to share some of my reflections as I was preparing for that discussion.
There has been, I believe, is a tendency to attribute all manner of things to Covid and its associated effect on society, particular lockdown and working from home. In my mind, Covid has been more like a torch that has shone a light on many practices and issues, which were already hidden in plain sight.
As a business leader, it has been this reflection in particular that has caused me to think much harder around the additional steps we need to take to provide an enriching environment for everyone who is interested in being part of our organisations.
Now, this applies as much to our long-serving employees, as it does to new candidates looking for positions. Indeed, I do wonder whether in organisations generally it is the cohort of longer-serving employees who become the forgotten legion, perhaps taken for granted and deemed to be satisfied with the company because they have been there for so long.
So, how does this “thinking much harder” manifest itself in real terms? For me, there have been a few key reflection points:
In some ways, addressing the needs of the workforce is the easy bit because, arguably, we have more control over those dynamics. However, we also need to consider our supply chains and how we interact with clients and, indeed, suppliers.
We have probably only scratched the surface of this so far. As organisations dare to gaze towards a less restricted working environment, the risk emerges of our supply chains moving out of sync’. It was easy when lockdown applied to most organisations within your supply chain.
However, as some organisations adopt a bolder approach whilst others remain reticent, there is the potential for the supply chain gears to crunch somewhat.
It is important to have conversations with your clients about why your organisation adopts the posture it does, and many leaders will have to wrestle with the consequences of a situation where client preferences don’t align to supplier positions. We all know the adage that “the client is always right”, and this is a wise sentiment to adopt. Nonetheless, smart conversations will be needed to balance that triangle of company goals, client needs and workforce confidence.
I think the leadership playbook is going to witness a number of new editions over the next 12-18 months. Solutions that satisfy the triangle of needs will doubtless underpin the work of the most successful organisations.
Finally, returning to the Agile methodology we follow at Triad, it’s important to remember the principle ‘try something new but if you’re going to fail, fail fast’. We’re growing rapidly at Triad and our staff seem extremely happy, but the reality now is constant change as we return to the office and client sites while working on many projects that were created by Covid. There will be mistakes along the way and that’s ok, but fail fast and then more onto to success.