A change was forced upon me this week. As I walked into my local train station I was confronted with a seasonal change: the Christmas shopper. As a commuter into a large City, I suffer the inconvenience of this breed of traveller every year. What this all means for me is change. So, when I wrote the term ‘suffer’ above, it is an exaggerated divergence. What I really meant is that my habits have been disrupted and I had to cope with a change in my routine.
Last week I attended the Institute of Directors enterprising women in business conference in Salford. Out of nearly 200 delegates I was amongst about 10 men at the day (last year I think k it was just 4 of us!), so I experienced a day from an unusual perspective. Listening to the many female speakers I heard about their views on the challenges of being a woman in business but also the strengths and opportunities.
I remember an occasion when the CEO of a company I worked for addressed their workforce. The tone of voice, style of delivery and body language was so out of place that the people in the audience (including me) literally started laughing at some of the things he said. I noticed that in the Deputy CEO's message, she said very similar things as the CEO. However, it was how she spoke that changed how it was received.
If you're a senior decision maker in your business you will be someone people look towards to solve problems. With this role comes the responsibility of leadership. You may be able to find answers when you are new to the role or your team but no one person has an endless supply of solutions for all situations. I get to work with many successful leaders and there are a few common traits I've seen in others that enable them to sustain their effectiveness as problem solvers.
We will all be familiar with the well-known cliché companies often share about how, “people are our greatest asset”. Yet all too often see examples of where these words do not get back up by the actions of decision makers in a business. Busy managers, working under external pressures like cash-flow and KPIs can easily put aside good intentions.However, from a logical point of view, creating and keeping highly engaged teams of people, your business is a no brainer.