The disruption caused by the pandemic may look like doom and gloom to many but there’s no doubting that it has forced people to change the way they think. Stressful events propel change and crisis experiences can jolt people to take action. Many are now viewing current systems and processes differently, looking for new perspectives and finding ways to create opportunities for growth.
So, what should firm leaders be doing to harness this new way of thinking and take advantage of these emerging opportunities for learning and growth?
- Explore if teams have found new ways of working – team relationships and dynamics have probably changed in the WFH scenario, and many teams have been forced to accept new challenges in the face of great uncertainty. Ask which teams have done well, which teams have captured and applied new learnings, and then decide how that knowledge could be shared to the benefit of others.
- Nurture growth thinking across the firm – leaders will require patience because bringing about deep change is challenging and is usually a long-game. People are currently in learning mode, which can be stressful in itself, and reshaping old work practices takes time. Recognise and reward effort, showcase wins and ask for input about how new ways can be applied across the firm.
- Forgive false starts – innovation doesn’t happen without some mistakes and missteps along the way. People do not learn from doing the same thing over and over – they learn from not getting it right. How a recovery from a mistake is made is more important than the mistake itself.
- Focus on learnings gained at each step along the path and cultivate a culture of learning, rather than the more traditional and typical view of “always knowing”. Team and practice leaders can build this approach into their regular team meetings by asking each team member what they have learnt since their last meeting. This simple step forces people to think differently, focus on learning new skills, take ownership for their own development, and also encourages new ways of thinking.
- Lead by example – model the above thinking and behaviours. For instance, leaders could begin their team meetings with “What I have learnt since our last meeting…”. Find small ways to recognise and reward progress and contributions.
- Make learning and change a formal agenda item – leaders can set aside a regular timeslot to explore issues such as what has changed, what has been learnt, which workflows could we improve, where do we need to course correct, how can we communicate better across the team and with clients, what don’t we know, but should, how can we apply our new knowledge to improve the way we work.
- New metrics – consider if there are new business and performance indicators that are now more relevant to track your changed business model and how your firm will need to be managed in the future.
The disruption caused by the pandemic gives leaders a unique opportunity to nurture new ways of thinking about learning and growth. Harnessing that will not only ease the way through the on-going challenges presented by Covid-19, it will also help firms and their people emerge in a stronger position.
We would be delighted to hear your thoughts and continue the dialogue with you. We hope you’ve found this Insight to be constructive and thought-provoking. We share comments and ideas of a general nature, with the aim of helping firms contend with current challenges. As such, the content above is unlikely to be complete and comprehensive enough for a firm to re-imagine the future. Rather, it may be a beginning or a conversation starter, as each firm is different and the challenges each face are unique. If you would like to continue the conversation, then please connect with us for a confidential conversation at click here.