Reflections on Our First 15 Years (Part 2)

Changes in the World of Work

I’m just about old enough to remember ‘typing pools’ from back in the day and my secretary, who worked for me and another manager. Shirley would sort my post for me, into urgent and non-urgent, and we would see each other once a day to go through everything and prioritise meetings and responses. I wonder how long I would have allowed her to stand at my office door throwing random pieces of paper at me every 30 seconds!

This is what we are doing if we allow our emails to pop up in the corner of our screen. They distract us from our tasks and generally affect our productivity and wellbeing.

Some things stay the same

What hasn’t changed are the fundamentals of leadership. We notice that it is increasingly important for leaders to have a future that they are passionate about, to provide a sense of direction and clarity amongst the ‘busy-ness’. Building big relationships is still crucial to building trust and getting the job done. They may use technology to do this rather than face to face, but it is still just as important that people understand each other and what their values are.

Empowerment and Coaching have stayed constant in their demand, although they have become more clearly defined and people’s acceptance of them as ‘mainstream’ has increased. Change Management is as important as ever, but the focus on the Human Side of Change is now much more common. Organisations understand that if they want to come out of change in good shape with people still connected to them, they have to plan both the hard and the soft side of change.

The New Normal

What has increased as change has become the norm, is the desire for Change Resilience training. Organisations want their people to be able to cope with the continuous change that is part of everyday life.

Finally, there has been a move towards focussing on the ‘whole leader’ with the dawning realisation that people can only be at their best if their mind and body are both in top condition. Stress Management and Wellbeing have very much become hot topics. Businesses realise that people working long hours and sacrificing work/life balance leads to long term health issues and drops in productivity/increase in absence.

We have had an increasing take up for our Heart Monitor, which measures the levels of stress we are putting on our body over a 3-5 day period. It also measures the amount and quality of recovery our bodies are getting, the exercise we are doing and whether it is health promoting, and the effect of our lifestyle on our body’s performance. Through the coaching that follows, we have seen many people have ‘epiphanies’ as they realise that their current working practices or lifestyle are storing up potential problems for the future.

Look out for Part 3 where I reflect on the other changes we have witnessed over the past 15 years.

Did you miss Part 1? Catch up here

If you can’t wait until Part 3, the final instalment, and would like help in preparing your leaders for the future, do email me on david.tomkinson@andpartnership.com.