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What might businesses expect in 2022?

Hello, everybody, and welcome to 2022. I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and that you're ready for the new year. For this edition, I'm joined by Jed Hassid, an executive coach at Purple Performance who is going to help us work out what we believe our clients are going to be most concerned about in 2022. So, sit back, relax and enjoy The Coaching Conversation...

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Graham: Jed, perhaps you'd like to introduce yourself, let our audience know more about you.


Jed: Thank you, Graham, and Happy New Year to you and to our audience. Well, my name is Jed Hassid. I'm an executive coach. I work with senior leadership teams and business owners to help them establish where they want to take their business, their vision and then also how do we get that vision? And how do we execute? I typically work with service-related businesses, people related businesses.


Graham: After we've obviously come out of one of the most difficult, incredibly strange years of business history, as you go into 2022, what do you think are the three big things that will be top of the worry list for your clients?


Jed: One of the conversations that I've been having with my clients – a family business - has been around, what do the founders (mum and dad) want to do? What are their goals? When might they exit or take a back seat or a lesser role in their business? And if they were to do that, then is the next generation up to it? Do they want to step up and either come into the business or develop their roles into more of a leadership role or board role? And, does the next generation actually want to be part of growing this business? Or do they want to sell or have nothing to do with it? All of these options have been brought into stark contrast, as a result of the challenges that we've been suffering and gone through since March 2020.


Those types of conversations, particularly in terms of the next generation, the extent to which they have the confidence to step up, with imposter syndrome playing a role and causing them to question ‘do I have the skills?’, ‘do I have the wherewithal to be able to make that step up?’.


Graham: Now you've mentioned it, yes that is something I'm seeing; I've got a number of clients who are thinking about succession, whether they're the owners, they're the leaders, and they’re now thinking that life's too short. The pandemic and all the other challenges of 2020, will have made them revisit all of this and come to perhaps a different conclusion than before.


So, what wouldn't number two be?


Jed: I want to talk a bit about technology. I am not particularly adept at technology, although I have had to learn to adapt to teams and zoom and various platforms that we've become familiar with particularly since March 2020. Technology is encouraging business leaders in small and medium-sized businesses, to think ‘are we taking enough advantage of the technology that exists? How can we do use that technology to improve our productivity, to improve the profitability of the organisation, but also increasingly to enhance the customer experience, and to try and drive the loyalty of the client base of organisations?


If the pandemic taught us anything, it's that people have to do a lot of things electronically. I think, to assume that things will just go back to salespeople being able to go and physically meet their customers will take time - some will, but some won't. So, using technology to deliver a fantastic customer experience will become key.


Graham: Yes, certainly the value and importance of technology have accelerated in the last 18 months. So, what would number three be?


Jed: This is around having a positive mental attitude - actually, it's more than that - It's having a growth-oriented mindset. It's saying that when there are challenges, how can we see the opportunity in these challenges? How do we create a culture within the organisation that is growth centred, rather than trying to hang on to what we've got?


There's a lovely case study about Microsoft. Satya Nadella, the current CEO of Microsoft, when he took over, was to be very clear about the culture that he wanted in the organisation. He was very explicit about the growth mindset that he wanted to encourage, where people are curious and always trying to learn new stuff, and find opportunity, as opposed to thinking 'we are Microsoft, we know everything’. By encouraging that type of mindset and that attitude of curiosity and humility, he encouraged them to develop and enhance themselves.


Graham: It's interesting, because one of the questions I was going to ask you a little later was is 2022 the year for audacious goals, or is it another year of battening down the hatches and just getting through to next year? What's your view?


Jed: Yes, is the answer. Make big, audacious goals. I'm a strong believer in this. As much as you have to have a guiding principle, a guiding direction for your organisation, what you're aspiring to if you want a growth-oriented culture is really important.


I always think about Alice in Wonderland; there was a conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat. Alice is walking woods, and she comes to a fork in the path and she doesn't know which way to go. She looks up and sees the Cheshire cat in a tree. She says to the cat ‘which way should I go?’ The cat says, ‘Where do you want to get to?’ and Alice responds that she doesn't know, and the cat says ‘Well, it doesn't matter which path you take then’. If you have a clear sense of what it is that you are striving to achieve, the aspiration, the big, audacious goal, then that absolutely helps to say, we've got to make a business decision - does it take us closer to or further away from achieving that goal? And the decision then becomes that much easier.


Graham: Do you have any other concerns that you think business owners or business leaders will be focusing on going into 2022?


Jed: I think if you have substantive goals - this big, audacious goal, you quite quickly get to a point where you realise that you don't quite know how to get there, and what has got us here so far isn't necessarily able to get us to where we want to get to. So, the topic of innovation crops up, and this is a challenge because in order to execute a business plan really successfully and with discipline, we need focus - and this style of thinking is sometimes at odds with the risk-taking, open-minded, growth-oriented, innovative style that might really help us to get to where we want to get to.


The challenge is to try and balance and find a way in which we have both these styles within the same organisation. One of my clients took the very radical step of crudely mimicking and having two bits of the organisation exhibit the two mindsets; One was tasked with execution, and the other was tasked with innovation, and the styles were different. They came together, but the stars of the two groups were very different because what was being asked of them was very different, namely the execution and the ‘what next?’.


Going into 2022, there's every reason to think we're going to have a bit more of that. I think those that have been agile will continue to be agile, and they'll continue to thrive; whether it's attached to an audacious goal or whether it's actually just dodging a bullet. I think a key requisite of looking ahead this that you can think of supply chain issues, for example, you can think of inflation, you can think of anything to do with the pandemic and further lockdowns or furloughs or any of those nightmare scenarios - but the ability to respond to those quickly and effectively with innovation is always very, very important throughout the whole of 2022.


Graham: We are all typically given to New Year's resolutions and there's a statistic somewhere that says they rarely get past February - Why do you think that is? Why do you think we get to the new year and make all these promises to ourselves and to each other which really don't last?


Jed: I think that it centres around habit - can we make the new activity or the new way of operating a habit - whether it's in the business lives or personal lives? Quite often people start with this new intent, but then we don't bring it into the way that we operate. We don't make it a daily or a weekly thing, whatever it might be. We don't hardwire it into our operating system. The ability to break things down and to ask ourselves ‘how can I make this resolution a habit?’


One of the reasons that resolutions tend to go is the understanding of your motivation - why is it important at the beginning of the year? is it still important later on? Is it sufficiently important to continue to work on and often? I think the answer is often no - we come up with these great ideas, and we are not sufficiently motivated, we're not sufficiently energised by this resolution to keep it going.


When you talk about a personal goal or personal endeavour as a leader - if you set targets if you set aspirations, which you aren't really committed to, and you don't really energise the people around you to those goals and objectives – it is pretty much committing yourself to failure, isn't it? The lesson here for leaders with their new year budgets and their new forecast for 2022 is to get serious, get focused, and be determined to achieve the really important things that matter, and only worry about those and everything else will look after itself.


Graham: Yes, and build a great team around you, and get them to come up with a fantastic plan - we have to energise, we have to encourage people to back to the big, audacious goals. They are only going to be achieved if people really want to be challenged, because most people don't like to be bored, and being able to set a challenge where people say ‘you know, what, if we could do that, Wow, that'd be fantastic’.


Coaching is about change. As coaches, our job is to help people; help the person do the things they want to do. And if they're not prepared to do that, if they don't want change enough, then we can't, as coaches make that stuff happen.


So, to bring this session to a close- tell me, how you are feeling about 2022?


Jed: I have to say energised. It has to be better than the last couple of years, doesn't it? I think 2022 is going to offer opportunities for those who can recognise them. One thing that really sticks in my mind is when people say ‘I don't tend to see opportunities, where can I find them?’ I remember working with a business where the chief executive said ‘The average order size this year has been five figures. Over the next couple of years, we need opportunities that are at least seven figures’ and strangely enough, they started to find these opportunities - it was just changing their thinking and becoming sensitised to these options, that helped them to find them. If you identify specifically the type of business you want, then that will really grow and help you to achieve your big, audacious goals.

 

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