The leadership skill of horizon scanning has never been more important – the events of the last year has demonstrated this in abundance. The ability to gaze over the parapet and the confines of your world, to anticipate and predict the future, and to then apply that insight to plan and contingency plan is absolutely core for any leader, and particularly if you’re responsible for the future direction of your business.
At the time of writing, I’m (Katherine) spending some time in Ireland, working and holidaying. Ireland has handled the Covid crisis relatively well, with the Government receiving plaudits for its swift and decisive action and clarity of its communication through the first four months of the crisis. At the end of June, however, there was a change in government, and with it a change in leadership approach and style – and this new approach has come in for plenty of criticism in recent weeks.
As businesses are navigating a return to the workplace, safety is foremost in everyone’s minds. And while the focus is necessarily on creating a physically safe, bio-secure environment, paying attention to creating psychological safety is critical AND maintain (or even re-establish) an emphasis on productivity and performance.
We remain in curious times, despite the welcome easing of UK lockdown restrictions. This marks a gradual return to activity for many business sectors, although it is too soon to tell what this really means, and we will continue to face an uncertain, ambiguous and potentially volatile future.
As business leaders plan to come out of lock-down, they face the daunting challenge of taking their people with them into uncharted territory. The pressure on leaders is enormous, with many facing threats to business survival and the need to rapidly reimagine the steps to re-opening.
Few business leaders have ever faced a situation as overwhelming, unpredictable and serious as the current COVID pandemic. The leaders and businesses that will thrive in the future will be the ones that re-imagine themselves into the new, emerging future, taking the best of the past but also leaving much behind.