The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has published a special report into Managing Change. As part of this report, Dr Simon Hayward, CEO of Cirrus, comments on how business leaders can cope with uncertainty.

Change is inevitable. It is all around us. Brexit, political upheaval, increasing regulation and a growing protectionist agenda make it incredibly difficult to run your business. 

If external factors are changing or uncertain, how can leaders keep things steady? Brexit is just one factor in an increasingly volatile business environment, says Dr Simon Hayward, CEO of Cirrus and honorary professor at Alliance Manchester Business School. “Technology is fuelling the pace of change in our increasingly unpredictable and complex world. This means that today’s business leaders must assess and continually react to new opportunities and challenges. They need to implement strategies rapidly and refocus efforts when circumstances change. When presented with key moments of choice, agility enables leaders to move quickly and responsively.”

However, a desire to ‘keep things steady’ can actually be a barrier to leading in an agile way, according to Hayward, who says, “A culture of caution can inhibit progress.” He adds: “I’d encourage leaders to examine the ways of working and types of behaviour across their organisations and consider whether they are contributing to agile ways of working. What are the customs and beliefs that shape how people behave day by day? What are the constraints on people’s behaviour that stop them from being agile? Seek feedback from others, welcome it, and act upon it.”

Members of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales can read this article in full on the ICAEW website.

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