As we approach our anniversary of 15 years in business, it got me thinking about what has changed since 2003 – and also what hasn’t! When we started out all those years ago, we were four Directors with my wife, Gill, doing the finances half day a week. We were determined to create a different business to the ones we had all left. We wanted people to enjoy coming to work, be encouraged to think about and vocalise the futures they want to create, feel supported to move towards them and be genuinely empowered to make decisions. This wasn’t entirely altruistic as we also wanted to release every ounce of potential we had in the business to deliver better performance!
This has been hard to get right and has taught us a lot about human behaviour and ourselves! Where people aren’t used to this way of working, it can feel comfortable and cosy when they join, and mean that they don’t deliver their best performance. We have had to work hard to support and challenge, to ensure people are stretched and supported. Putting our espoused beliefs into action in our own business has helped us to shape our thinking about achieving peak performance within our client organisations.
…This is now
We now have nine of us in the business with a dozen associates and, although some of the people have moved on to find their ultimate passions, what we have stayed true to all these years is involving people in the business and measuring engagement through surveys and conversations. Many businesses state this as one of their aims or values but seem to struggle to implement or sustain it. This seems to be getting harder with the constant changes experienced by most businesses – so what have we seen happening in business over these 15 years?
The obvious changes in technology have supposedly made communicating easier, although anyone returning from holiday might dispute this as they plough through their 1000 emails! We have seen an increasing dependence upon this technology, to the point where some people are now addicted to it and have lost control of their own time. We spend an increasing amount of time on workshops helping leaders at all levels to slow down, challenging them to take back control of their diaries and sharing tips and techniques on how to spend their time more purposefully.
In Part 2, read about my thoughts on changes in the World of Work.
If you can’t wait until the next instalment and would like help in preparing your leaders for the future, do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org