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Monday, July 1, 2013

Impact: Effective leadership can help deal with uncertainty

If you can create a culture which supports collaboration and innovation, you're well set up to deal with the uncertain times that lie ahead. 

That's according to senior personnel at people development company Impact International who were speaking exclusively to TJ at the first ever Learnfest forum held at the firm's headquarters in Cumbria.

With talent management being the main focus of the festival, Helen Symes, senior account director, and Sam Carey, UK managing director, took time out to discuss the latest trends. And both believe good leaders are needed to deal with the tentative times ahead.

Symes said: "We're living in a VUCA landscape and we need leaders who are good at acting in the moment and are able to deal with ambiguity and instability - so I'd say agility in this instance is a really important thing.

"For me, the bit about leadership being the red thread is very important for us. It's very important for any talent management strategy. If you have the right leadership, you create a good culture where people are really good at identifying and spotting talent from within.

"What's interesting is that a lot of organisations are now helping their managers become talent spotters. We do some work with helping businesses help their managers become apt in this regard.  With this in mind, it's all about our approach to changing the mindsets of leaders. Leadership and behavioural change are of vital importance and it's about conveying this message to others."

Carey agreed with Symes and stressed the significance of having the "right alignment" when it comes to leadership. 

"Anybody with a voice has a leadership capacity within them and that's definitely something which we think about and try to pass onto others. It's about helping everyone to fulfil their potential. It's not about who you are but what you do in the moment. 

"Organisations have a responsibility to do well by doing good by others. This comes back to having the right culture. And if people don't have the right culture, employees will leave. All this leads back to leadership - it's about having that right alignment," she said. 

Speakers at the event also voiced the great role young people have to play in organisations. Sue Hunt, director of strategic programmes at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) praised the amount of young people who helped volunteer to make the Games great. And with the war for talent raging, TJ were told that managers need to think about the way they adjust to the needs of different generations. 

Symes said: "The generational differences are a big thing which all leaders are going to have to think deeply about - generations x, y and z are all in the workplace at the same time. The generation of Baby boomers now do not want to retire. This is leading to a situation now where you have an environment with the biggest spread of generations that we have ever seen. They have different priorities, wants and needs and learning styles - it's really important for leaders to consider this and decide how they're going to react.

"Then there's technology. What does it mean for the way in which we connect and share knowledge and how we then communicate and develop our talent?"

Carey added: "This war for talent rages on - it's different but it's still there. The morphing from talent to aptitude is something we're seeing more of and a lot of organisations are saying that the war is for finding the people that have the raw materials rather than skills as this can be developed on the job."

The event itself was laid out in a festival-like atmosphere with delegates networking with learning experts in circus tents and on lawns. Attendees were encouraged to discard of formal wear, while the option to take part in activities, development experiences and team-based sessions made for great conversation and creativity. 

Learnfest revolves around a different theme each year. The focus this year was on talent management. For more information on Impact International, visit: http://www.impactinternational.com/ 


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