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Top 5 things business leaders are doing to hit the ground running for 2021

As we move out of lockdown

We’re fixing people problems for businesses just like yours

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Over the past two months, we have run a series of live client panel interviews, asking CEOs what is critical to their success in 2021.

All our clients who took part are ambitious, forward-thinking, mid-tier business leaders, so we thought it would be worth pulling their answers together to give some valuable insight into preparing well for next year.

1. Keeping your key people

Martin Skelton explained that keeping key people in the business is going to be critical to the success of Gonzalez Byass UK, one of the outstanding premium wine distribution and marketing companies in the UK. With a strong group of Millennials, Martin explained they are all brilliant, passionate, excited, responsible – and great at using technology. Most of them have over 5 years’ service, and it is a classic time in their careers when they could be thinking of moving on. To lose them, and their wealth of knowledge and key relationships in sales would have a significant impact on the ongoing success of the business. As a result, Martin with his People Puzzles People Director, Morag Woodliffe, is making plans to keep them engaged and developing within the business.

2. The right systems, processes and people for the next stage

Kirsty McCarthy is currently the COO of Grey Wolf Therapeutics, a founder and the Head of Operations for Pathios Therapeutics and a founder/owner of Molecule 2 Medicine. With two of the businesses at very different stages, they are focusing on different things to deliver success in 2021. The first business needs to develop appropriate systems and put processes in place to support a new CEO, achieving key objectives next year. The second business is in the process of raising capital, and whilst less mature, has to prove outcomes to be successful. For both, a wellbeing programme developed with People Puzzles expert Andrea Richardson has significantly helped team engagement and overall business health over the past 6 months, avoiding burnout and the stress that could have come with such a busy year.

3. Staying cohesive without being together

Alpesh Unalkat is the CEO of Aura, a workspace development company that was formed during lockdown by the merger of two already successful businesses in March. Alpesh explains that if we had certainty of when a vaccine could open everything up again it would be easier than the ongoing uncertainty. Regardless of when this does happen, it is critical to be able to keep the team together, whilst working remotely. Ultimately the business delivers solutions for customers, which means that the happiness index of the team is critical. Alpesh explains what working with Sharon Bridgland-Gough from the People Puzzles team has meant: “The big difference has been that whilst the leadership team does focus on people matters, it helps to have someone with the broad spectrum approach – putting our thoughts into execution and bringing a bunch of fresh ideas and insights.”

4. Dialling-up on Business Development

Anders Reeves is the CEO of Conosco, an IT services company, and the founder of CovertSwarm, a cybersecurity business. Somewhat unusual they decided to dial up on their marketing and business development spend during the crisis, alongside doing everything to retain current clients. Anders explains that a time of crisis is an opportunity to outspend competitors, having grown their business development headcount higher than ever. A bigger pipeline is already paying dividends in business growth at a tricky time, and the hope is that this will continue into 2021.

5. Have a Plan B and a Plan C

Marie Cooper is the CEO at CBE+, a specialist precision engineering sub-contractor business. 2020 has been a rollercoaster for the business, with one part of the business expanding, and the other contracting. Marie explains that the Chinese symbol for crisis is two-pronged: one-part danger and one part opportunity. You have to look for opportunities in business, sharing your inspiration and confidence with the team. That often takes the form of having a plan B and a plan C, being able to pivot and take advantage of what is ahead. Continuing to communicate to the team, living by their values and keeping people on board is critical to success next year.

There’s no doubt that at this current time that having an engaged, happy and motivated team, who feel supported is crucial for driving the business forwards. At People Puzzles we work with our clients to improvement engagement and motivation, delivering a high performance culture to help you retain a team of brilliant people who deliver to targets, are rewarded for success and most importantly enjoy the journey along the way.

If you think your business could benefit from an HR Director to support you with your growth plans in 2021, we’d love to have a chat with you to work through the best solutions to succeed. Call us on 020 3239 3307 or email [email protected]

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