2022 has been a turbulent year for organisations and individuals. As we head rapidly towards a new year which is predicted to be equally or even more challenging, it’s never been more important to think about preparing for every scenario. As a leadership team of a rapidly growing organisation that faces the same social and economic challenges as other businesses, we need to actively build the resilience necessary to support our team, our Clients and their Customers.
So, where do you start?
The first thing is to accept that you simply cannot do everything. You need to identify the priorities and address those that will deliver the most significant impact. In preparing for 2023, our leadership team has reflected on four key areas and challenged ourselves on how we can do more.
‘It’s always been like that.’
Over the years, I’ve heard this many times, but as a team, you have to tackle this kind of thinking head-on. Thirty-three months on from the first UK lockdown and people’s expectations of their employer have changed. How, when and where people work should now be at the top of every business leader’s agenda. Every job advert talks about ‘great culture’, but so many organisations fail to understand what this is and how this is nurtured and developed.
Not only have workplace expectations changed, but expectations of technology continue to move at pace and cross generational boundaries. The demand for immediate, simple and holistic digital interaction means that every technology business needs to think about the how, when and why of their products more than ever.
Every successful fintech business has to address these high-level challenges to stay truly innovative. Change is a constant, and without evolving, you are accepting that you will stand still and very quickly lose relevance.
So, embrace change. Accept that you should try things and that innovation cannot happen without experimentation. Communicate ‘why’ you are doing something but accept that you don’t know all the answers and listen to feedback.
Ask difficult questions
‘No one knows the answer to that, so let’s move on.’
If you truly want to continually advance and improve, then you must challenge and ask questions of yourself. By openly discussing your challenges, you can tap into the wide range of expertise and experience within your organisation to determine the best course of action.
It is always easier not to ask these questions or fall into the trap of making decisions based on personal preference, but one essential quality of a great leadership team is the ability to challenge yourselves, be transparent in your decisions and reflect thoughtfully on the outcome.
Difficult questions don’t have easy answers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask them.
Define your identity
‘Who are we, and where are we going?’
If you can’t consistently answer this question, you should definitely spend some time thinking about it.
Organisations have to continually change and grow, and you need to frequently revisit these fundamental questions. This doesn’t mean endless strategy days locked in a room but rather that as a leadership team, it is an area which always should be at the forefront of your mind.
What is our purpose? What are our vision and mission? What are our values?
If you are able to answer these questions, then you will be able to produce consistent messaging and develop a relevant and achievable long-term roadmap plan for your products and services. Most importantly, once you have answered these questions, you need to share and discuss your purpose, vision, mission and values openly with your team.
If you don’t know who you are and where you are going, then no one else will either.
Be open to new ideas
‘We know who we are, and we don’t need to change.’
Once you have set a direction, it is all too easy to steer away from change because it necessarily raises a degree of uncertainty.
The reality is that there is no predefined set of right answers. There is no playbook for guaranteed success or employee happiness and fulfilment. However, the purpose of a leadership team is to listen, to challenge one another, to take decisions and ultimately, to learn and adapt. The world of work, the way technology is consumed, and client and market needs are constantly changing. Embracing new ideas and fresh thinking is the route to future success.
Leaders are always looking at how they can move their business forward, and in order for your organisation to reach its full potential, you have to consider new ideas, accept change and adapt. Change is a constant, and whilst you will be measured by your actions, you will be remembered for your inaction.
So, where do you go from here?
For any leadership team, the greatest challenge is time. But spending time asking these questions, debating and defining your strategy will never be wasted. This is the opportunity to define your own future.
Always keep asking ‘why’ and be prepared to listen and act, fearlessly.
James Hill, CEO