Covid-19 has been a global crisis for every part of society. For businesses, it has been a challenge on a scale unlike any seen before. Many companies redefined their entire models of operation in record time. In uncertain and unpredictable times, businesses had to keep planning.
With a vaccination programme underway, schools resuming and hopeful conversations, business leaders have renewed clarity. The pandemic led to leadership reflections – driven by chaos and setting a path for future growth.
In this blog, I will share my leadership reflections, the impact of the pandemic on my team, and how it shapes the future of Nimbus Blue.
Adapting to Uncertainty
It’s vital to be adaptable in business, yet the transition from a pre- to post- pandemic business has been tricky to navigate for many, including me.
The issues of finance and enhanced communication were a challenge for us, but not the immediate concern. Instead, it was remote working and a distributed team. I wondered about the long-term implications – how would it affect my enthusiasm? What would be the impact on my team’s cohesion and our clients?
There’s a common thread among business leaders in my peer group. I’m not alone in asking how leaders can be influential if they are not physically with their teams. I continue to draw on these peer groups as I keep learning and adapting.
Evolution of Delegation and Team Empowerment
My approach to delegation has evolved. I’d had to focus even more on strategic direction, which has meant members of my team have more operational responsibility.
It helped that there was already trust in my team. Serving our customers at the highest standard is the foremost priority for us. There is a common understanding of the expectations, the goals and the time scales underpinning how we work. I streamlined management roles and ensured that the team knew the communication lines if they needed my attention.
It worked! As the weeks went by, I saw higher engagement levels, loyalty and more emotional investment in the team. Our company culture has benefitted from being empowered.
Balancing Life and Work
Covid-19 strained any balance we may have had between work and life, resulting in emotional exhaustion. I’ve always found the balance difficult.
As a single parent, I try to maintain a positive balance. However, the past year has increased the effort needed to keep a differentiation between work and home life. I went into self-preservation mode, setting out a more disciplined approach.
At Nimbus Blue, we now have more refined processes for prioritisation and planning. I have more balance as a leader, and the team have also chosen work patterns that suit them. Our focus on outcomes, rather than hours worked, has led to greater productivity.
What the Future Holds for Nimbus Blue
The pandemic created an immediate need for businesses to change their operations. We are all asking, “Where do we go from here?”
A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that over 20% of the global workforce will be just as effective working remotely. Twenty per cent isn’t a massive number, but it’s early days for data like that. I’d hoped that things would return to normal. But I’m adjusting to the idea that it’s unlikely. So, the work we have done as a team to become more laser-focused and boost productivity will benefit us in the long run.
We ended 2020 with a 25% increase in revenue compared to 2019. Having the right people in the right roles has been paramount to our success. As we advance, we need to overcome the challenges of remote recruiting, for instance. Our recruitment process hinges more on values and attitude, not academic achievements and years of work experience. That’s the best fit for a remote-working world, so I’m confident that we’ll continue to hire well.
A final point is our commitment to helping our clients navigate and adapt to post-pandemic business. The start of 2020 saw a 35% increase in cyberattacks, and that statistic is escalating, in part, due to digital use. We are already supporting our clients as they combat cyber threats.
Businesses will always face challenges. Yet, there’s always an opportunity to become more resilient and to grow as a leader. Regardless of the uncertainties, I’m excited about the future of business and leadership.