The value of change

Published by Alison Jones on 20 February 2023

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For reasons beyond all our control, 2023 is likely to be a year of change for many businesses and individuals.

Change can be unsettling, it disrupts, and it is often feared. But not all change is bad or has negative consequences. Change can be an opportunity to revaluate business activities and operations and this in turn can add significant value to your business. Times of great change historically is when some of the most successful organisations and brands have been born including Disney in 1929, Revlon in 1932 and Microsoft in 1975.

Have you given thought to what changes could be on the horizon for your business and if there is an opportunity to add value or benefit from it? I’m sure the answer is yes given economic events of the last six months, but let’s just take a step back first.

Few predicted (or be honest, took seriously) the risk of the global pandemic in the run up to March 2020, yet this seismic, global event and its legacy has ultimately brought significant change for all of us. Personally, it has also brought benefits to my working life and that of the wider team around me.

Benefits my colleagues and I now have include a better work/life balance and change to workplace policies, such as the freedom to dress for the day ahead depending upon who you are meeting. We have more face-to-face meetings on platforms such as Teams or in person. All this means we’re more relaxed and open as a team, know each other better and this makes us more supportive, reflecting in our work for clients. This benefits us personally, but also has a wider business value.

I think most people agree agile working arrangements suit most people and they are here to stay. We’ve all proved the benefit to our businesses and the value to ourselves and it is now a key part of the recruitment package on offer by many firms. Agile working has a value that for many people money simply can’t buy, as it buys time and choice within personal lives. It creates a significant amount of goodwill and trust within an organisation. It’s an intangible asset for many businesses, but one which also adds financial value through happier and more motivated staff, better performing teams and reduced turnover of staff.

Dressing for the day might not be that new in many workplaces, although it used to be just dress down Fridays for many firms. However, allowing us more personal choice about what we wear makes us feel more comfortable and confident as well as giving us a certain amount of personal freedom. I think this makes us all feel more of an individual and improves our business relationships.

Teams meetings have taken the formality out of many workplaces. We are used to interrupting delivery people, partners, children and pets. We know all their names and its refreshing to see that our colleagues have the same daily distractions that we do – it’s just life now. Teams also means we chat more to people face to face – rarely just over the phone now. That helps to build stronger, more personal relationships which are so important in many business sectors. Just three examples there but all change which has been for the better.

If you have identified change on the horizon for your business that’s good news, as in reality it can be very hard to predict. How your business prepares for and adapts to change is important.

Pre-Christmas, we noticed that clients seemed ‘stressed’. They were busy, had a lot on their plate, were dealing with a lot of sudden change and many were a bit on the back foot.  There was the unexpected economic turmoil and uncertainty in the early autumn from the Liz Truss premiership, difficult to have planned for. At the same time, the nation also grieved for the loss of the Queen. Despite her grand age I don’t think many of us had given a thought as to how her passing would affect us and our businesses and many people I spoke to feel a little part of our Britishness and cultural identity has been lost with her passing. All this affected many people in many different ways, and it was difficult to predict or plan for.

The good news is that ever since Christmas, I think we’re seeing much more resilience in the wider business community and clients are feeling more in control and better equipped for riding out whatever ongoing economic storm and the inevitable change it brings lies ahead. It is certainly going to be challenging for some business sectors with the squeeze on household budgets, but don’t forget the good news that the UK economy defied predictions and grew in November by 0.01%. This means it’s not technically in recession and this will I think help many businesses at least maintain the status quo this coming year.

I encourage you to use this year to revaluate business goals, objectives and the plans needed to deliver them. Look at all the factors which influence your decision making, talk to your stakeholders and especially your employees. There are many more tools and real time data available to the business leaders of today to help make better informed and timely decisions than there has been during previous periods of economic uncertainty.

And remember having a good team around you, who you trust and can bounce ideas off is invaluable. So, let’s not fear change, let’s embrace it, meet it head on and make it work for us this year.

For more information about the topics explored in this article, get in touch.

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