Earlier this month, Sheena Thomson Consulting issued the second Pulse survey.
The Spring Pulse survey comprising two short questions was sent out last week to several hundred businesses and organisational leaders across the UK and beyond. The response rate and engagement have been excellent, with nearly 100 participants sharing their experiences and views. Our thanks to all that took the time to take part.
- Given today's evident and increasing geopolitical tensions, how concerned, if at all, are you about the impact of these on your business/organisation?
- Considering the above question, which one of these, if any, is the most important priority for your organisation/business right now?
Mark Bouch is the founder of business strategy execution consultancy Leading Change Limited and co-creator of Agile Strategy, a solution to assist organisations to flourish in an uncertain world. He shared his observations and advice on these latest Pulse Survey results:
"Before the pandemic, many organisations focused on a linear approach towards running their organisations. Since the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine, however, a more volatile and complex environment is emerging that requires a flexible and adaptive approach to strategy execution to make decisions faster, and react quickly to changing circumstances.
The results of the Spring Pulse Survey align with our observations and experience. Greater agility is required at small scale in teams and at larger scale by enterprises and business operating units. A less linear, less hierarchical approach will combine strategy formulation, the business operating model and leadership to encourage adaptation.
In short, many organisations now require a more flexible approach to setting strategic direction, combined with a more adaptable approach to execution."
A snapshot of how participants are responding to the challenges presented in the Spring Pulse survey:
On strategy, shareholder expectations and risk:
“This is not about us anymore. This is about a changing system, and it will require much more than tactical actions to adapt to the ever-changing normal. We must accept much greater instability of supply, demand and opportunity. Our shareholders will have to accept much greater swings of performance. Only vision and collaboration will stabilise things, even if it is just a stabilisation of direction through this new abnormal.”
“Making the best of the opportunities. Risk is on the agenda so let’s make sure people know how to deal with it.”
Board member, Institute of Risk Management
On client retention
“In 2023, relationships with suppliers, clients and prospects will be more important than ever. Client retention will be achieved by a combination of results and relationships.”
On staff, assistance policies and transparent communications:
“Staff look to senior management for answers. They can see and hear what's going on and are experiencing the impacts of the geopolitical tensions. They need open, honest and transparent engagement. Nobody has all the answers.”
“It's a cliche perhaps but our greatest asset is our people. If they are not supported in tumultuous times then productivity suffers, customer service dips and the business is less resilient.”
“Our priority has been supporting our staff with the cost-of-living challenges. This has included a one-off bonus for all staff in the autumn (to help with winter energy costs) and a 7% pay rise being implemented in April 2023. Plus, we are investing time in listening to colleagues and supporting wellbeing, etc.”
Summary of findings
- Continued concerns over the geopolitical situation, with 51% remaining “quite concerned” and 36% slightly concerned.
- Adopting a more agile and collaborative approach with staff, clients and customers is the overwhelming priority for organisations to navigate the current uncertainty.
- Managing stakeholder relationships and transparency during this period of “new abnormal” is a major feature in the new agile approaches taken today. This was particularly evident with staff.
We are still seeking volunteer executives and leaders to spare 30 minutes of their time to interview (in person or online) to ask an academically supervised set of questions that probe further the risks they are facing during this continued and evolving period of uncertainty.
If you would like to participate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
More about Mark Bouch:
Our research project partners:
The Pulse Business: https://www.thepulsebusiness.co.uk
University of Sussex School of Business and Law: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/sbl/index.aspx.
Rise Innovation and Research: https://rise-innovation.uk