Through the Looking Glass for 2019

2018 has been an interesting year for all of us. As we step into a new year with new excitement and anticipation, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the year gone by and see what lessons it holds for the new year.

The pace of change has been a big factor. Across our clients, change and change management were the biggest themes. Organisations felt the need to change and evolve constantly. The reasons were generally a mix of external (market dynamics) and internal (company growth). Whatever the reason, managing change is almost always inevitable for any organisation that wants to thrive and grow. What set this year apart, however, was the pace of change.

As the technology landscape evolves, we’ve seen its effects trickle down into the way organisations are run. Looking into the next few months, we can expect the rate of change to continue. As leaders grapple with ensuring that their businesses thrive and grow in 2019 and beyond, here are a few thoughts to consider.

Business Transformation Starts with People Transformation

Business transformation seems to be on everyone’s minds, given the pace at which the ecosystem is evolving. But most organisations underestimate the impact that a transformation has their day-to-day operations. A bulk of the effort is often concentrated on the process change while ignoring the larger (and more difficult) aspect of changing mindsets.

No amount of process change can actually create an impact on the ground unless people on the ground understand and embrace the new processes. Getting people to accept change and internalise new behaviours is often the biggest challenge. As digital and business transformations continue to reign, a people-centric approach will prove extremely valuable.

A Culture of Learning

While skills and competencies may become obsolete, what will hold an organisation in good stead is a culture that is dynamic and embraces change. A learning culture doesn’t happen in isolation. It needs to be ingrained and sustained through practices such as providing learning opportunities, setting learning goals as part of individual KRAs, and walking the talk when it comes to promotions etc.

Change Starts at the Top

Often, we see that while leaders may understand the need for change, they are uncomfortable with a transformation mindset. This hesitation easily trickles down the ranks as people view transformation efforts as a short-term inconvenience that will go away once the leadership realizes that it isn’t working. This can be a self-fulfilling prophecy because the transformation is unlikely to be successful without employee buy-in. Therefore, enthusiastic support and adoption by the leadership is an important component of success.

Leadership Self-Awareness

One of the most important qualities that a leader needs to possess in the new year is self-awareness. Leaders are simply more effective when they have a deep sense of awareness about their blind spots. What factors motivate their decision-making? Do they tend to favour certain people or certain technologies without a logical reason? Being aware of one’s own biases, limitations and points of view brings in a sense of humility and willingness to learn, which in turn improve decision making.

The new year promises to bring new trends, new realities and more change than ever. Hope that we can all be the change we want to see, as we explore newer horizons.