There is a growing view that too many executives struggle to adapt thinking to changing situations. What can be done?

There is a theory and belief that many developing executives often stick too rigidly to agreed plans and ideas; and lack the mental agility to adapt to changing circumstances, which in turn, hinders not just performance but creativity.

The debate and question being posed is how does one support executives to be able to be open to the need to change a plan as often change can improve whatever the original plan was?

Some lay blame at education’s door for not supporting creative thinking better; others at the dominance of brands and business process whilst others point to a fear of failure as a reason why many do not wish to veer away from Plan A. There are probably many reasons but maybe the real area of focus is how can those executives who do struggle be helped to both view a different perspective and also feel comfortable with change.

Of course, there is that famous old line that the only time people feel comfortable with change was when they were babies and their nappies were changed but the business world today is all about fast shifting environments and a good plan may need to be adapted. One only has to look back to last Autumn after Liz Truss’s Premiership when many forecast calmer waters by this time than has been the case. Things do not go to plan and often a Plan B or C is the right option to consider.

It is an old saying in Rugby and Football that the best players adapt to the perspective of each referee. The poor players continue as though they know best. It is no different in business.

The market is changing at such speed that executives do need to be more creative. Consumers are looking for higher experiences and better standards. Often what was acceptable in 2019, is now viewed as almost old-hat; so the ability to adapt and change is becoming a core skill set. Our argument, for reflection, is that there is a need for a focus on helping executives to be more creative and flexible in their thinking as this can help business performance.

In a recent discussion with an expert in school education, they noted that schools had become too rigid in developing mindsets and there was alack in encouraging creative thought. This was now being seen as a genuine problem which new actions are being developed to confront. It is the same in business. Often the best answers and solutions emerge from within a team, so the debate has been on whether executives can engage different perspectives, listen and be creative within boundaries.

Hospitality is in an exciting moment where there is a real shift towards higher experiences, stronger service levels and new solutions. It hints at being an exciting era for creative thought but of course, it is equally important to help support the development of executives to be able to evolve thinking.

Our view is that there is a role for new thinkers, and advocates to come into companies to challenge traditional thought. The more accepted that it becomes to adapt ideas, then the more creative teams will become naturally but it needs a catalyst to start the process.

Written by Chris Sheppardson, Founder and CEO of EP.