“Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet.”(German proverb). What has changed in the minds of leaders since 2019?

It is natural that much has changed and feedback from leaders so suggest that many feel they have had changed as a result of the last three years. Many have felt humbled over the last few years and they have worked hard to make corrections. Privately many though do believe that they will emerge stronger as a business. The last three years has made all ask tougher questions and raise their own bar.

As one CEO noted “in retrospect, many of us will accept that we could coast from 2014-2019. We thought we were doing great jobs but we have certainly improved since late 2021. I will say that even in 2020, we were in denial that all would just return to normality and it took probably till the spring of 2021 to understand that it had all changed. Did we waste a year? One can say that but it was all part of our learning”

It is noted, that today leaders need to take into account factors which would never have been considered even a decade ago.
These include:

  • A greater need to prepare for the unforeseen challenge. Companies do need to ready today for any challenge.
  • Preparing business strategies far better
  • Saving for setbacks
  • The need to show employees and teams far greater care and consideration. It is recognised that nearly all today spend and give more thought to mental and physical wellness as well as to diversity/inclusion. Most accept that they thought they were making progress in these areas pre 2020 but this has been fast forwarded now.
  • An understanding of new disciplines such as sustainability as investors do want to ensure that every company is playing their part in improving performance.
  • A stronger focus on the customer. Service offers have improved across the board despite all the labour issues.
  • Technology has become far more central and today data is not just better collected but analysed and understood.
  • An understanding that business does possess a duty to also have a social purpose.

Another MD noted: “ I think the pressure on leadership has understandably increased but it will take time for the DNA of organisations to change. It is a 5 year journey. Leadership changed post 2008 and the main priorities were different in 2013 to the ones which were in place in 2007 which were very different to those in 1997. The strange thing is that many leaders have bene consistent throughout all this period when normally there would have been greater churn. It could be that the lack of churn has been a problem but it also brought stability. However, I expect that we will see more churn now to take place”