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How do you establish your growth mindset?

How do you establish your growth mindset? 1

By Iris Schaden, Your Transformational Coach

As a future leader, you want to own or establish a growth mindset, an explorer attitude, a global outlook and a technological mindset with the right amount of humanity. Why? The pandemic has fast-tracked changes in such a way that it is mainly companies who showed flexibility, were quick to make changes, had access to appropriate logistic networks and were leaders with a growth mindset that were able to stay afloat.

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are two prime examples of individuals with a long-term growth and consumer focused mindset; a practice that has been in place in their companies for years. As a result, Elon Musk became the seventh richest person in the world (Bloomberg Billionaires Index, July 2020) and Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) grew in Q1, 2020 by 33%.

However, it is not only these global players who are thriving. The traditional meat industry is venturing into plant-based ‘meat’, re-positioning themselves as a ‘protein’ industry. Businesses who were able to set themselves apart are the ones surviving: local fruit and vegetable markets who made swift adjustments by offering home deliveries; independent book stores who provided a unique customer experience; or yoga studios who improvised and quickly adjusted by offering live online sessions – just to name a few.

By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. This generation’s expectations will demand another shift towards greater flexibility as to where and when they want to work, and how they want to engage (e.g. with casual work opportunities). The current pandemic was simply an immense catalyst for showing them new opportunities and what could be achieved with a bit of flexibility.

So, what is needed to stay relevant and attractive as a growth leader?

Research concludes that it is your mindset, or the mindset of your company’s leadership, that makes the difference. Many of the world’s leading companies have recognised this and are now helping their employees so that they can adapt faster, better deal with intense pressure and be more innovative. Their investment is paying off.

In a case study documented by Morningstar, a global financial services firm’s 7000 employees in 27 countries reached an “astonishing uplift in staff engagement by creating psychological safety as their secret ingredient to better communication, collaboration and creativity”. What allows for such success is a growth mindset with leaders having a ‘I can get better and I like to learn from others’ attitude as opposed to a fixed mindset with an ‘I am not intrinsically good at it, there is no point in trying’ belief.

Future growth leaders:

  • conduct regular surveys on emerging needs
  • demand constructive feedback
  • move from being an individual contributor to an effective team leader
  • encourage sensible risk-taking and facilitate safe discussions on failure and learnings
  • build effective communication for their virtual teams
  • deliver clear communication in relation to their vision, strategy, plans, timelines, decisions and the reasons behind them, and employees’ roles in all of this
  • stay flexible and agile on the field to react to change (e.g. reacting to competitor)
  • approach new skills with an ‘I am not good at this yet, but I can be’ attitude
  • stay curious and explore new strategies, approaches, services or offerings with a global outlook
  • value progress and the journey
  • approach new technologies with the mindset of an open-minded teenager.
  • review and invest in future leadership skills, upscale, retool and stay relevant.
Iris Schaden

Iris Schaden

And finally, it is an important mindset for future leaders to balance the aspect of technology with the aspect of humanity. Companies can only maximize their potential if they remember to look after their people. This is demonstrated by making an effort to minimize company politics, being transparent in decision-making, encouraging high morale and aiming for low staff turnover. There is an overlap that occurs in the company’s performance and the satisfaction level of the people working there. Engaged employees contribute to healthy companies that succeed financially and serve their customers better.

My own personal experience concludes that careful risk-taking pays off. Not necessarily always in the form of a career opportunity, but in overall wellbeing and personal development. In 2005, after careful research and a weekend seminar around the Chinese economy, I quit my secure job of 6+ years and – against the advice of family, friends and colleagues – relocated to live in Beijing and study Mandarin. My intention at the time was to take an educational sabbatical year, upskilling to stay relevant by acquiring a new language and new experiences in an emerging market, as well as immerse myself in Chinese culture. I was able to live with two different families from either side of the demographic spectrum. As a marketing professional, I literally studied consumer behaviours from within, and all the while my host family was able to ‘show off’ their 5-year-old son’s private English tutor.

What I learned was that I not only struggled with the air pollution, but also with my newly acquired Mandarin that still lacked proficiency in comparison to native speakers. Also, I found that I arrived probably 3–4 years too late in China to make it without those skills in marketing. China had already built and acquired global management standards and work networks through their international students. Despite that, I had a wonderful time, formed new and international connections, and gained great insights about myself and Chinese culture.

You could argue, of course, whether my move to China showed a growth mindset. For me, the question is rather, how would my life and personal development be different, or not, if I stayed in Germany? I suppose this is a very personal question which everyone must answer for themselves. Allowing myself to study and live in China made my life richer. It brought a jolt of excitement and fun to my life, challenged my work ethic by demanding and cultivating great flexibility, enhanced my resilience, ignited my curiosity and developed my cultural awareness.

If establishing your growth mindset is of value to you and your career development, get in touch and let me assist you with forming new habits and thought patterns.

 

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Business

Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key

Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key 2

By Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK

As lockdown restrictions ease for the foreseeable future, conversations across the business world are starting to turn to how employers can safely and seamlessly prepare for their workforce to return to the office.

Research from Robert Half has found that over half (54%) of employees are worried about working in close proximity to their colleagues, while a similar proportion are eager to return to the office due to loneliness working from home (45%) or concerns about missing out on career opportunities (30%).

Unsurprisingly, after everything companies and their employees have done to successfully adapt their operations and working practices to social distancing rules over the last few months, immediately returning to the old ways of working will likely neither be sensible or practical. With safety being the key priority for the ‘new normal’ of office life – communication, flexibility and preparation should be the main focus areas for employers.

With this in mind, what are the challenges and opportunities that employees anticipate as they prepare for the return to work, beyond government and industry supplied health and safety best practice? Furthermore, how can employers best support their staff during this period?

Keep people at the heart of change

It is important to recognise that your workforce has been working through an intense period of uncertainty and change for months, which can be incredibly unsettling. On top of this, working for weeks in isolation without the usual physical interactions with team members could be potentially detrimental to employee engagement and mental wellbeing.

Having adjusted to keep staff connected with one another from a distance with virtual team building exercises, video calls and daily check-ins, as teams begin working in hybrid models with some in the office and others remote, staff engagement will need to adapt again.

Managing people with greater sensitivity and maintaining positivity throughout will be crucial. To help instil a sense of normality and engagement, encourage maximum collaboration between individuals (in accordance with social distancing rules), and make sure teams feel part of company goals and opportunities through regular meetings and communication – no matter their location.

Continuing to invest in technology and offering flexibility will also be important to ensuring that people can continue to work remotely or on-site, either in accordance with their own wishes or as part of your staggered return-to-office plan.

Communicate, communicate, communicate (and listen)

Reassuring staff that they are able to safely return to the office will require continuous communication. From expectations of the physical office, to expectations of how to operate within hybrid teams, these new expectations and new workplace requirements should be communicated to all staff clearly to avoid confusion.

Regular email updates, updates on the company’s intranet and social media channels, as well as frequent town hall meetings (either online or in a smaller setting) could be key elements of an effective communications approach.

Also, consider a feedback channel to allow staff within the team to offer thoughts on their experience of returning to the office and any suggestions on improving the process. Whether on a company-wide basis or a team-by-team approach, schedule regular check-ins to engage with employees’ questions and concerns.

Maintaining open communication channels with your team will be essential for keeping up employee morale and ensuring clarity. For example, if some employees aren’t comfortable with coming to the office every day, then they should have plenty of opportunities to voice their concerns and have them dealt with promptly, respectfully and fairly.

Staggered return-to-office planning

Depending on the size of business and density of office space, maintaining home working arrangements across teams on an alternating basis could make it easier to implement safe social distancing. This involves select teams working remotely while others work on-site on any given day.

An alternating approach to remote working might also reduce the risk of staff feeling pressured or overwhelmed by an immediate return to the office five-days-a-week. After all, some families might be juggling temporary disruptions to childcare arrangements and public transport systems will likely become crowded again. So, a transitionary period will help everyone adjust to post-lockdown office working.

Finally, if you have developed your technology infrastructure to facilitate remote working, you would do well to continue to leverage these new capabilities as in all probability, a mixture of remote and at-office work will be needed for some time.

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Business

Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy  

Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy   3

Leading payments provider, Contis, has applied for two grants from the RBS & BCR Alternative Remedies Package, totalling £35 million.  

Unlike most applicants who will deploy funds through a single brand, Contis is taking a completely different approach. The funding will be used to drive fintech innovation in the UK by developing an off the shelf, B2B electronic and card payment technology platform for SMEs. With Contis’ powerful tech stack and regulated status, this will empower hundreds of fintechs to support the SME market with groundbreaking technologies, payments and lending capabilities. Contis today services over 800,000 consumer accounts, 14,500 business accounts and processes £4bn in transactions per year, demonstrating a proven track record.   

UK businesses are facing a challenging economic environment with the impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit. As large corporations and entire sectors are affected, SMEs will play a vital role in the recovery. Contis’ approach is completely disruptive, offering three channels to maximise support for SMEs and sole traders, through three unique brands, all powered by APIs from Contis’ modular and configurable engine. 

1.       Canvas for Business 

Contis is a super-vendor in the world of fintech, offering payments through proven banking rails and card scheme capabilities including issuing pre-paid, debit and virtual cards. They’re linked to digital delivery like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and a trusted tech stack that boasts 99.99% uptime.  

With funding from the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF), Contis’ technology and regulated services will be made available to the whole fintech community, enabling them to provide dedicated SME accounts with the latest leading-edge capabilities delivered via Contis’ wholly owned, secure, cloud-based technology and apps. Contis’ solution has a firm eye on the need for SMEs to compete internationally, particularly after Brexit, and offers FX integration as standard.  

Canvas for Business will increase competition by providing fintechs serving the SME market with technology that outstrips the big banks. Contis will also provide credit referencing capabilities and empower fintechs to lend to their SME client base through Contis’ own credit licence. Without the constraints of legacy systems, it will enable simple connectivity to accounting and payments solutions, as well as to unlimited future innovations.  

2.       Engage for Business 

Over 150 Credit Unions currently use Contis’ Engage service and technology, and hold an estimated £400 million in undeployed cash reserves. Developed with CIF funding, Engage for Business will enable Credit Unions to launch business accounts and payments products for the first time, and allow excess funds to be redeployed in the SME sector through business support loans. This will revolutionise access to funding for sole traders and small businesses. 

3.       Freedom for Business 

With CIF funding, Contis will also offer large scale SMEs a direct-to-market solution where Contis holds the relationship and provides a bespoke offer to meet the business’ exact needs. 

Contis’ application to the Capability and Innovation Fund is focused on creating the widest possible impact for UK SMEs by fulfilling their accounts & payments needs and driving innovation in SME financial services. 

Through the grant, Contis will empower over 200 fintechs and Credit Unions to provide credit, simplify payments integration into everyday business needs, offer digital credit referencing, provide budgeting tools to SMEs, enable automated payments, give predictive insight on cash flow, provide rewards to SMEs on spending, and much more. 

Peter Cox, Founder and Executive Chairman of Contis said: “Our mission is to democratise payments and financial services for all SMEs, so they’re spoilt for choice with innovative and affordable solutions that meet their exact needs. Our approach, based upon proven technologies, will broaden and disrupt the services available to SMEs far beyond the capabilities of existing providers such as the big banks.  

“By driving competition and innovation, while improving the availability of funding, our approach will increase the services on offer to SMEs and make them more affordable, therefore becoming easier for every entrepreneurial person with vision to run their own businesses.” 

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Business

Four years of digital transformation in four weeks: UK lockdown puts pressure on brands to digitally deliver

Four years of digital transformation in four weeks: UK lockdown puts pressure on brands to digitally deliver 4

Nearly a third (32%) of consumers would switch providers if a brand’s website is unavailable for more than 24 hours

A study released today reveals the scale of omni-channel pressure brands now faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, as consumers flock to apps and websites to as the priority destination to transact with brands.

The UK has experienced a huge leap in use of online services thanks to lockdown, with the public appearing to have less concern for the availability of a brand’s physical location. Research by Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) uncovers a “window of availability” that UK businesses now have before consumer loyalty changes:

  • If a brand’s website is down for 24 hours – 32 percent of consumers would switch provider
  • If a brand’s app is down for 24 hours – 28 percent of consumers would switch provider
  • If a physical store is closed for 24 hours – 20 percent of consumers would switch provider

The results by industry paint an interesting picture of the availability timeframes brands are expected to adhere to:

  • For online retailers, excluding grocery retailers – 23 percent of consumers would switch provider if they could not access online services for 12 hours, rising to over a third (34 percent) after 24 hours
  • For financial services and entertainment streaming platforms – 21 percent of consumers would switch provider after 12 hours, rising to 33 percent after 24 hours
  • In the case of online grocery shopping – 20 percent would switch provider after 12 hours, rising to one third 33 percent after 24 hours

The findings also highlight that as digital reliance increases, so will consumer expectations towards availability in the future. Over the coming two years, a third (33 percent) of consumers expect online financial services to always be available, rising to 35 percent for streaming services.

“UK consumers have become reliant on the constant availability of online services, and lockdown has only served to heighten this,” comments Chris Huggett, SVP, EMEA at Sungard AS. “What used to be a choice between physical and digital has now firmly accelerated into digital environments across various industries. As online worlds continue to outpace bricks and mortar as the face of businesses, ensuring constant availability and clear communications on downtime will be key for brands to build trust and loyalty.

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