I spent all day yesterday at a conference run by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing Supply at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster. We were on the fifth floor and the views were spectacular.
I was there to recce the event as a possible sponsorship opportunity for a client but the content got me thinking.
One of the speakers focused on the future and the trends likely to affect procurement specialists. He said human knowledge will double every 12 hours by 2020; we’re moving towards an ideas economy; the world of work has changed with people increasingly working in cafes instead of offices; cyber-security is a huge and growing risk; and 3D printing is taking over. He talked of the GIG economy in which contract jobs are taking over from salaried roles. By 2030 65% of graduates will have jobs that don’t even exist now!
We’re all living on a non-stop continually accelerating conveyor belt of change! How are we going to cope? How is it going to affect business and our workplace?
It’s easy to panic in the face of all this, to freeze wondering how on earth we can and should respond. It might be an understandable response but it’s not a very constructive one. After all, we’ve still got to hit our targets and grow the business.
My first job, 25+ years ago was in the world of technology PR so futuristic predictions have been a part of my working life since day one. As I listened to the speaker, who by the way was excellent, the thing that really struck me is that whether we’re working in cafes or an office, printing instead of manufacturing and moving from contract to contract, we’re still doing business with people. Twenty-five years ago it came back to the people and it does today.
This means businesses need to create an environment in which individuals can thrive, which contains their anxiety and gives them the support they need to be their best. We also need a team of individuals who know how to get into constructive and productive relationships with others. Sounds obvious doesn’t it! But in my honest opinion few, if any of the companies I’ve worked with or for have ever given much thought to this, still less have they done anything about it.
My working life has been spent in PR and increasingly communication. In this context, taking the time to understand your audiences and their priorities is absolutely essential. Once you have a clear picture of their motivations and anxieties you can begin to craft your messages. I use the word craft advisedly; done well this is a thoughtful and considered process deserving of time. This month I’m running three messaging workshops with different clients to do exactly that.
I’m training as a psychotherapist and now working as a counsellor and am seeing time and again the power of relationship. I don’t define this as something glib or superficial and it’s certainly not about going around pretending you are friends with everyone. It’s far more substantial and as a result much more valuable. Deeply rooted in trust it allows for honest debate and conflict, the type that’s critical to coming up with new solutions to tough challenges.
Give me a call if you would like to find out more about my messaging workshops or are interested in exploring the power of ‘relationship’.