Over our near 35-year history, Saxton Bampfylde has supported some of the most successful organisations in the UK and further afield, to identify and appoint senior leaders capable of building confidence and utilising their experience in times of change.
During this time, one of the most fundamental changes to stem across all areas of life is the development of digital technology. The embedding of digital practice and experience is increasingly the difference between an organisation’s success and its failure. It is a landscape that is changing continually, and perhaps more rapidly than any of us could have anticipated.
When we set out to conduct this research in late 2019, we could never have foreseen the profound impact that COVID-19 would have on the way in which businesses across the globe operate. It is important to note here that while the write-up of this piece took place after the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, the majority of the interviews were held prior to the pandemic. In the intervening time, global communities have found themselves facing a time of unprecedented change and challenge, both at work and at home, and we can be sure that no sector will remain untouched as we work to forge a path forward.
Digital technology has enabled multiple organisations to continue or develop a new modus operandi, at least in the short term, as people across the globe grapple with working at home. Without technology there is very little doubt that this would have been possible or even imaginable. However, no matter how advanced, accessible and collaborative the technology available, people are, and still remain, the most important asset of an organisation.
“As the digital world becomes able to do more of the heavy lifting, we actually need more human skills.”
“The pace of change is much greater now: leaders need to be more agile.”
It is the responsibility of a leader to guide their organisation forward, more so in times of change than at any other junction. And that call to arms has perhaps never been so strong as now. While the full impact of COVID-19 is unlikely to be realised for many months, or perhaps even years, it is vital that those people are led well and supported to achieve the core ambitions of the organisation. There are opportunities here too, and leaders must be prepared to guide their organisations forward to embrace these.
“We know that this change is a reality, but it’s a positive reality. It’s about reframing the change.”
“Without a doubt, the biggest impact of digital technology is its enormous levelling effect in terms access to a global marketplace.”
Through this report, we intend to examine the extent to which digital success and the human elements of a business are mutually inclusive, and how leaders can drive their organisations forward to ensure the correct balance is found. The theme and topics covered are more relevant in our current and future climate than we could have anticipated.
It has been a thoroughly interesting area to explore and we do hope that you will find this piece thought provoking. We would like to express our sincere thanks to our contributors for sharing their thoughts so candidly. Any feedback on the themes explored and the insights raised would be warmly welcomed.