This blog was first published in The Game Changer column in Gloucestershire Echo & Citizen & on 28th March 2019.

When was the last time you learned something new that changed your business? Acting upon insight can be a game changer, writes Stewart Barnes of QuoLux.

Making time for leadership development is one of the most common challenges expressed by owner-managers before they take part in our programmes. Yet, time and again, we see the evidence of learning applied by leaders in ways that transform their outlook, driving sustained growth.

For Sarah Bryars, the Chief Executive of Target, the Cheltenham-based communications agency, it was a critical insight into innovation that triggered a new perspective. Among the first cohort to achieve our MBA Leading Business with the University of Gloucestershire, Sarah’s study on the role of communications as a driver of innovation looks set to be a game changer.

“I’d only really thought of innovation as something that happened in R&D labs or digital tech firms,” admits Sarah. “Then a masterclass completely changed my mind. My eyes were opened to the spectrum of innovation from incremental to radical, and I started to see opportunities for innovation everywhere.

“I realised that this was a critical perspective to share with the team, so when we held our away-day last summer it was a focus for discussion. We talked about what innovation may look like in Target, as well as among our clients. By understanding how businesses innovate we are in a far greater position to apply our specialist skills, as expert communicators, to contribute to their success. Whether that’s helping them to articulate really compelling value propositions, developing nuanced messaging to win over new markets, or internal comms activities that support a culture conducive to innovation.”

In January, Target launched its first white paper on the subject at an excellent masterclass, hosted by QuoLux and delivered by Sarah to an audience of business leaders. “The white paper is a way of sharing our knowledge and the fascinating insights of SME chief executives who contributed to our original research, in a very digestible format. It’s proving to be a great conversation-opener, bringing Target to a wider audience through speaking opportunities.

“We believe innovation is for everyone and we’re on a mission to encourage and support businesses to get the very most from innovation through expert communications.”

This is a great example of applied leadership learning. Having gained insight from an inspirational expert, Sarah thought deeply about a subject of relevance to her business, created new knowledge through research, critically interpreted the findings, and is sharing the insights widely; first inside the business, then with clients and the wider business community. Target is living its mission to help clients communicate brilliantly; creating its own distinctive voice and compelling reasons to buy their services. And with three new client contracts won this month, it’s a strategy that’s bearing fruit.

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