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Leaders are having to react and adapt to challenging and changing conditions, while driving business as usual performance, supporting staff engagement and trying to stay sane themselves.

The pressure is on. But with pressure comes an opportunity to innovate, rethink expectations of what’s ‘usual’ and start to build new habits.

In this webinar, we explored new pragmatic ideas for you to lead change in this era of business as unusual. Watch the full video on demand or read on for some of the key concepts discussed.

Watch the webinar


The pace of change will not reach terminal velocity. It’s going to get faster and faster – and if we can’t keep up, we need to look at what we can do differently. We encourage a shift in your mindset about change.

There are a multitude of ideas we could cover in this space, but we’ve kept it to four here, which we believe are timely provocations to help HR, change delivery centres and business leaders think differently this year to lead change in ‘business as unusual’.

1. Perfect decisions do not exist

The pressure is off – we can’t do it, you can’t do it – let it go! While leadership paradigms in the past often focused on decisiveness and making bold decisions, today it’s about working with teams to find the next best action instead. Leaders need to retain accountability and ensure it’s not a free-for-all, but you no longer need to make a decision once and expect it to be perfect.

Practical tips to embrace collective decision making

HR and change centres

  1. Engage people early to give initial sight and influence decisions.
  2. Collaborate with others to find the next best action.

Business leaders

  1. Apply guard rails.
  2. Co-design and delegate rather than trying to make all the decisions yourself.

2. Think like a scientist

In the modern world, we are often encouraged to prove that our point is right. Think about the ways we’re invited to interact on social media or how politicians are expected to rigidly stick to their answers.

However, complex problems call for us to be mentally flexible. Being comfortable with adapting as you learn, or as things change, is an incredibly powerful skill. Changing your mind doesn’t make you a flip-flopper, it makes you open to learning.

Evidence shows that in learning cultures, organisations innovate more and make fewer mistakes, but it’s important that we still do this in a structured way. A scientific approach involves setting a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, and then pausing, pivoting or continuing as the results demand.

Practical tips to think like a scientist

HR and change centres

  1. Get your business comfortable with experiments.
  2. Be savvy about the data you collect.

Business leaders

  1. Adopt a growth mindset and be curious.
  2. When asked to make a decision, ask ‘what new information do we have?’

3. To TikTok or not to TikTok

In today’s workforce, leaders are being challenged to engage their teams across a diverse five-generation workforce using a range of physical and digital channels, while still representing their authentic selves and cutting through general noise.

There are a plethora of platforms and channels out there to use when creating engaging content and communicating change. Think about how you can optimise your content to acknowledge the diversity of your people and maximise their engagement. You probably won’t get it right the first time, but thinking like a scientist can help you find what works best while still being your authentic self.

Practical tips to maximise engagement during business transformation and change

HR and change centres

  1. Do something novel: experiment with communications.
  2. Use a variety of media and tools.
  3. Respect the diversity of the audience.

Business leaders

  1. Tailor your engagement method for your audience.
  2. Communicate constantly.
  3. Show your authentic self.

4. There’s no need to be a superhero

As a leader – for a specific delivery or general business – you may be looked to as the fountain of knowledge with all the answers, but in a world of ‘business as unusual’, you can’t know everything and you won’t have all the answers.

Leadership is now less about swooping in and saving the day, and more about visibly empathising, reassuring and empowering others.

Warren Buffett once said: “The difference between successful people and really successful people, is that really successful people say no to almost everything”. By limiting the work you have in progress, you create more cognitive space and allow yourself to focus on the key areas that really matter for you.

So, what does this mean in practice?

HR and change centres

  1. It’s ‘we’, not ‘I’.
  2. Don’t do everything.

Business leaders

  1. Free yourself up to lead: let the experts be the experts.
  2. Prioritise your wellbeing.
Lucy Stones
Stasia Smith-Turpin

At Gate One, we are change experts. Our team will equip you to drive culturally-aligned, innovative change programmes.

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