Asking the right questions is key still - but what are they? Simon Merrell, Merrell People
Business owners and leaders will no doubt be torn between operational and strategic agendas like never before.
Not everyone will have the luxury of senior managers who are able to help create the space for leaders to think ahead and steer an organisation successfully through the coming years.
Some organisations have already changed what they do, cleverly and admirably switching production e.g. to help supply medical equipment. Most business however will continue to do what they do and have a bloody good reason for doing it.
What will change is how services and products are delivered and the capabilities required to do it. We’ve experienced these drastic changes whilst out grocery shopping - supermarkets are there for the same purpose, but they have had to drastically change how they operate.
The experience in shops is all very clumsy and doesn’t feel like it will last. A more successful example is an animal charity I have been working with.
Online technology has allowed vets to undertake many initial examinations remotely. The same technology has allowed pets and owners to be matched before the commitment to take a pet home is reached.
The shift from scepticism, to relief, to satisfaction is a journey both staff, volunteers and customers have all made. It will become a permanent fixture.
Why? Because this change enables them to continue to achieve their purpose, aligns to the changes set-out in their strategy (to increase capacity) and doesn’t compromise their values.
The leadership team are clear where they are heading and have some very capable staff who are willing to change, solve problems and are committed to the cause.
Simon Sinek believes that Why? is the most important question to answer in business. I wouldn’t normally contest this. It is one that pops up most often in coaching conversations. I think 'how?' is a good rival at the moment.
How should we operate in the future?
How have expectations of us changed?
How will we ensure we have the right resources, skills and attitude to make it work?
How will we make the change?
Control and certainty have felt in short supply recently. Attempting to answer these questions might make it feel more uncomfortable. Avoiding them is riskier.
Simon Merrell is founder and director of Merrell People, which focuses on change, leadership and learning.
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