How Networking Builds Resilience
With the economy still uncertain, businesses need leaders and managers who are willing to network across their own organizations, and use every opportunity to communicate. Former Olympic gold medalist and Lane4 consultancy director Adrian Moorhouse explains how this pays off in organizational resilience.
Joanna Higgins: Now, one of the other things you talked about was the idea of working across teams. Can you expand on that a little bit?
Adrian Moorhouse: Yes, some—I keep answering the collective resilience piece is the ability to create social networks as we might imagine, I mean this comes from community psychology. It’s a research in to help communities thrive and grow. And it’s not a surprise that social networking is actually on the rise and there is a massive way of people connecting. Well, it’s true of organizations as well. You can’t underestimate the power of a social network within your organization.
So, in the recession, don’t cut into divisional meetings, you know, make sure you keep space for people to make those connectivity that are going to be critical for business to achieve stuff and learning together is another way where you know, the training budget goes. But a wonderful way of getting people to connect and therefore, when you’re in a meeting with somebody you’ve been with, you might be different and that makes it might be more productive because you’ve actually had a social—I say social I don’t mean going on a pop, I mean do you understand the matter of human level rather than just a transaction level.
So, the more you can do that in other learning situations or town hall meetings or as a leader, you know, hosting things where people get together. I think people kind of knows that actually because they’re missing that connectivity.
Joanna Higgins: Do you think that there are companies that are getting this right or are there examples that you see out there—that of companies that you can talk about?
Adrian Moorhouse: Yeah. An example I often used is somebody like saying—in the UK because I think as a feed retailer, they’ve just got to mobilize over 120,000 people.
So for instance, in the testing of your strategy and thinking about is that fit for current market place. The goal towards—we believe she’d had to look at the strategy and it’s okay and we offer him what the consumer wants? Consumers are can be trading down. They’re going to—maybe leaving us to get cheaper food and get this bargain, know the discount is. We want to keep them in our shop.
So, let’s boost our basics range on either stuff where you might buy your—in five-pay. And reduce the taste of difference, you know quality and so forth. So in marketing, advertising such as you know, feed your family for five or in stuff like that. So, they changed a lot of things on the strategy because of the current situation. I mean it’s very simple, you offer the market what it wants to buy, the price it wants to buy and the service they want to get and what—
So, the strategic resilience were strong because they tested it often so this is what the market place wants. Then operationally, they got their act together because if you mentioned making decision like that, switching from the quality brand—the quality range, the basics range, you’ve got to get your suppliers, different people might make those foods. And you have to get your supplies to switch on the basics, switch off the taste a difference. Then you have to get the distribution and your IDC distribution center—so your operational resilience has to be such to your systems can float out through so that you and I can get in the store and get the basics from the shelf.
Joanna Higgins: Yeah.
Adrian Moorhouse: That day after the boards made a decision. And they were able to do that in six months, like they turned that around, very quickly.
Joanna Higgins: You’re talking about though a pretty large organization with a lot of resources behind and if I am a smaller business or even a medium size business, does that apply to me?
Adrian Moorhouse: Yeah, it applies to you if you are seeing your manager or—you know what? In the manager of the organization, if you’re having conversations about how and what we offer in the market place is relevant or irrelevant or just pushing on with what we’ve got. If you’re not having these conversations, if you’re not thinking for business rather than thinking for your unit, if you keep your head down which is a keening condition of the recession, I’ll protect my job if I damp my head up, I might save my job.
Joanna Higgins: Yeah.
Adrian Moorhouse: That’s the wrong behavior. That’s the opposite, you need to get out more, have conversation I think is what’s best for the business and not what’s best for me and my team. Because I think right now, organizations of every size need business leaders, not functional heads to defend because if you do that, then you restrict to the growth, opportunity and you need people to be sharing ideas and not just defending position. I see a lot of people defending position.
Joanna Higgins: Okay, so how do you collectively get those ideas together? Are there sort of techniques that you use or that you help other organizations use?
Adrian Moorhouse: I think a very simple—conversations change organizations. Now, you either engage in a conversation that’s a formal level or informal level. And so you have meetings where you talk about, you know, what are some of the challenges to getting what we do into market place whereas some of the—facing in my team, you get real with the issues.
I would support, I mean giving you what I work—the area I work in and the people engagement piece, I do support sort of informal networks and work in the great—making sure you’re connected to that, so that you don’t just dismiss and set something aside.
What I’ve notice now is the organizations of any size need to be more formal communicating. I mean in a big organization, it’s quite obvious—you don’t want your employees to read about what’s happening in the press before they’d find out from you as a leader. But even a small organization, I mean we’ve only got 1800 people.
I am finding more—there are people asking more for formal communications, so I am doing an update. I can’t over communicate at the moment and where we are is an organization, how it’s feeling, how it’s going. I can do that verbally and around a coffee table, at a meeting, in town hall, or one to one. But actually I need to get those messages more formal. I got to make them structure, get them out there as often as I can so that people that may be missed those chances are plugged in as often as possible.
Joanna Higgins: So, what do you mean by formal and structured?
Adrian Moorhouse: I mean emails. I mean just getting people in meetings and just—because this has been such a drive to—because on that one, it’s yin and yang, right? It’s under a social network and the connection of the human interaction, the human touch stuff. But then you’ve got to back that up with the real side which is don’t underestimate the impact of the logged and formal opportunities, whether you get the chance to stand in front of a group or you get the chance to write to the group or you got a chance to talk directly from the podcast so whatever. It’s pretty cool but because ultimately people want you to help them make sense of what is going on.
How Networking Builds Resilience
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