Three ways to survive and thrive in challenging times

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At the start of a new year, leaders typically feel energised, focused, equipped and ready to deliver their change portfolio at pace. But this year, it feels fundamentally different, with many of the Senior Execs I have spoken to expressing how overwhelmed they feel owing to the lack of capability and capacity within their organisations.

It’s no surprise leaders are feeling this way; after all, we are operating in challenging conditions, with the global economy experiencing a broad and sharper-than-expected slowdown and the employee market remaining competitive. But like any challenge, this also brings opportunities, and those organisations that focus on the right priorities have the opportunity not only to survive but to thrive.

Three top tips to get started:

1. Empower your people: Enable employees to design, test and implement change.Woman writing on whiteboard


It won’t come as a surprise that top-down design and decisions don’t lead to the best outcomes for the organisation. After all, those at the top are usually too far removed from the operation.

To become a winning organisation, you need winning ideas, and my recommendation is to leverage the creativity of your talent.


I encourage you to bring together cross-functional talent to design, test and implement transformational change.

I recommend you set the team a set of desired outcomes and empower the group to define a mission statement before beginning to design solutions.

2. Become customer-obsessed: Walking a mile in your customer’s shoesHigh heeled boots walking up the stairs


By encouraging every employee to put the customer at the heart of everything they do, you are more likely to cultivate customer loyalty, improve customer retention and turn customers into brand ambassadors.


This month, encourage every employee to walk in their customer’s shoes. Depending on the type of organisation, this could be achieved by accompanied shopping, listening groups or interviews.

As part of this exercise, I would challenge each employee to identify ways to improve the customer experience, including new products and propositions, removing pain points or creating small moments that matter.

3. Efficiency First: Harness technology to remove non-value-added tasksFemale computer engineer


It’s simple really with fewer ongoing costs and more time, you will be able to increase profit and focus your attention on staying relevant in the marketplace.


To begin, I recommend you select one area of focus. You might want to pick an area that has a significant cost attached to it and is perceived to have quite a bit of fat.

Start by spending time with the relevant stakeholders to understand and map the current processes before heat mapping areas where human intervention adds no or low value. Once these areas have been identified, challenge yourself to find areas of opportunity where you could automate, remove or reduce the activity.

Fancy hearing more?

At Sullivan & Stanley we deploy expert teams to solve the challenges organisations face when undertaking change. We are award-winning and have partnered with many known global brands including Shell Energy, Tesco, Close Brothers, WH Smiths and FNALITY.

We hold numerous events throughout the year where we share our latest insights, and industry experts share their perspectives. So let’s get you on the invitation list if this sounds interesting. Drop us an email at [email protected]

Want to speak sooner? We would love to meet you in person or virtually over a coffee or dinner, where we will pride ourselves on giving you independent advice on your specific challenge.

Written by Codie James
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