The opportunity of change

Written by David Telling.

Having spent over 17 years at my previous firm and 8 years at the one before that I can hardly be accused of being an advocate of constant change.

However, being in a new and invigorating environment full of supportive and open colleagues makes me realise that change is as much an attitude of mind as the culture of the organisation you work in.

Looking back at my 17 years at my previous firm I have a clear appreciation of what I most enjoyed at work and that was the fresh and differing challenges. I was never happier when confronted with new, apparently insurmountable issues which needed the rapid attention of strategic assessment, evaluation and resolution. This was inevitably done with the contribution and opinions of the core team working on any business to which I would add some more oblique skill sets and expertise.

What this created was an urgency and intensity of debate which cut through the clutter of the distracting and the peripheral and focussed relentlessly on what really, really mattered and what should be done. The discussions were often heated, but never aggressive, and without any hierarchy of opinion or title. Everyone was treated equally regardless of age, title or length and relevance of experience.

The outcomes appeared blindingly simple and obvious. Something which I feel defines all good communications solutions. It also means that they are more easily and rapidly delivered, as there is little room for misinterpretation. They are often delivered more passionately as those involved have been involved in the development of the answer.

When the situation stabilises, as they often do. There is the ability to look back and learn from the impact the answer had on the solution, how it affected opinions and behaviours and where we can improve our thinking for the next challenge.

But at its heart is providing a place and an environment, under a reasonably high stress situation where those contributing have a sense of psychological safety. Providing this, when the stakes are high enables people with talent to perform extraordinarily, safe in the knowledge that they are in a supportive environment.

Sadly, the fact that this was lost, is ultimately one of the main reasons why I left, but also happily why I joined my new firm.

They recognise the need to provide this nurturing environment, and are putting in place the right processes and procedures to ensure it remains at the centre of how business operates.

Institutionalising, this along with a determination to drive greater diversity and development throughout the firm, coupled with the definition of a new and unique way of work (more of this in my next blog), fills me with confidence that this is an exceptional environment filled with exceptional people and led by enlightened management.

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