Playing the long game

Leading change is one of the greatest challenges facing any business leader. In this final article in the series ‘Leading Change in a post-Brexit World’, Stewart Barnes, Managing Director of QuoLux, considers some of the ingredients for long-term success in a changing world.

“It’s often said that change is the only constant,” says Barnes. “While Brexit presents particular challenges – not least because of the uncertainty of a process and outcomes that are yet to be determined – it’s an attitude and capability to change that will determine the long-term success of every business post-Brexit.”

Barnes believes it is each business leader’s responsibility to equip themselves – and their organisation – to move through the Change Curve (see /campaigns/brexit). But that’s not a responsibility to bear in isolation.

“Playing the long game is not a solo enterprise; it demands a high performing team and it is strong leadership that will orchestrate the best team performance.

“None of us are born with all the answers, but we can learn to be better leaders. In fact, research shows us that as much as 75% of leadership is learnt, and that’s certainly the experience of more than 100 Gloucestershire owner-managers who have been through the LEAD programme. Those who aspire to long-standing achievement know that ‘big ideas’ and entrepreneurship are just part of the equation.

“Holding true to your vision, building an effective top team, creating strong employee engagement to drive productivity, and establishing the culture and systems for continuous improvement, these are some of the ingredients that we see in businesses with enduring success.”

Barnes’ draws the conclusion that the impending shift in our EU status and the ‘disruption’ of change serves to focus our minds on a universal business truth; the imperative for every organisation to be ready to adapt in order to survive and thrive in the long term.

“Next week, as we approach 100 days since the public’s vote to leave the EU, we’ll also be celebrating some of Gloucestershire’s most successful businesses. Long-standing firms, those demonstrating true innovation, exemplars in staff engagement, and individuals whose achievements over many years have contributed significantly to our local economy.

“Excellent business practice, highly effective leadership, and our ability to reflect, analyse, act and learn from our own experiences – and those of others – that’s what will not only help us ride the waves of change in the next couple of years, but for every unknown change yet to come.”

QuoLux sponsors the Lifetime Achievement category in the Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen Business Awards. This award recognises those who have made a considerable, profitable and lasting contribution to business in Gloucestershire over a period of at least 20 years. Those honoured in previous years are Sir David McMurty and John Deer, founders of Renishaw, and Julian Dunkerton creator of Supergroup. This year’s accolade will be announced at the ceremony on 6 October.

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