By Casey George and Laura French, founders of Authentic People Partners

For business, for culture and for society, disruption is now the new normal.

We’re back living in society-shifting disruption and the only thing we know for certain right now is that everything is uncertain. 

Whilst the recent COVID-19 disruptor has resulted in a lot of uncertainty and fear, the reality is that change and uncertainty have always been constant. Ironically, possibly the only real constant. And right now businesses have no choice but to get on board. 

This is not necessarily a bad thing. If we adjust our lenses this can be an amazing opportunity to change the way we do things, particularly in how we manage our people and to the overall quality of our business, and more importantly – to people’s lives.

In many ways, small business owners are actually in a much better position than their larger peers to survive disruption and come out stronger. Small businesses carry less baggage and can pivot much more easily than large corporations. The creativity and agility we are seeing in many small businesses lately, is not only helping them to survive, it’s opening up new thriving avenues.

Here’s a few tips to help get your people and culture on board with a permanent state of disruption.

  • Lead with compassion and empathy 

The greatest tool businesses can draw upon is to have compassion, understanding and empathetic leadership. Humans need to feel heard and during uncertain times, the most important quality in leaders is the emotional intelligence to seek to understand first. Empathetic leadership requires creative adaptation and seeking solutions that are people-centric. Practical solutions will be important during crisis management and change, but a workforce that feels understood will be the difference between progress and regression. 

  • Agility is key 

All the evidence we have suggests that people who love a stable working environment may have a few bad decades ahead of them. The rapid technological advancements and natural incidents such as COVID-19 appear to be delivering us this message loud and clear. Developing a business that is agile is vital. It’s not about implementing long term static strategies, it’s about creating an environment that is flexible and adaptable to whatever might be thrown your way. 

  • Develop a culture that doesn’t value the status quo, but actually encourages self-disruption 

Focusing on the status quo, the current industry and your current top competitors are no longer acceptable success strategies. Businesses need to be thinking beyond this to remain competitive in our new world, and one of the best ways to do this is to welcome and encourage everyone around you to be constantly seeking ways to challenge the status quo.

  • Invest in the right technology  

This is a non-negotiable. We live in a technological world, and now more than ever, is the importance of technology. Engage experts to keep you on top with what’s coming next. As we all now know, technology dates quickly and moves fast. 

  • Self-care 

Self-care sounds obvious, but it’s often the first thing we push aside. Self-care should be part of your people management policy. To best manage those in your care, you need to first care for yourself. Manage your own anxiety and seek support. So you have the strength to support others.

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