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4 ways to reclaim your time: Essential tips for small business owners



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Restore harmony

Ready to reclaim your time? Part of the allure of entrepreneurship is owning your time clock— but as a fast-paced freelancer or an ambitious small business owner, time often isn’t on your side.

Without an extensive network of colleagues to fall back on or the support of an organization helping you to deliver on your promises or meet deadlines, the pressure is always on. Throw a bunch of additional plates into the juggling mix (household chores, food shopping, errands, childcare, maintaining friendships, exercise … the list goes on) and you can find yourself stretched to the very limits.

“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” ~ Golda Meir

When you lose your grip on time management, every day starts to blend into one giant blur. Your work-life balance is knocked off its axis and leisurely weekends become a thing of the past. After a while, you might start to neglect yourself, feel guilty for not spending time with people, and experience burnout.

It’s not easy to remain productive while striking a decent work-life balance — especially when you’re out there making it on your own. But, there is a way.

If you’re reading this and you seriously need to reclaim your time, stick around because here are four practical time management methods that will restore harmony to your existence.

4 ways to reclaim your time as a small business owner

One of the biggest benefits of being a freelancer or owning a business is the fact that you can work the hours that suit you while taking charge of your professional destiny.

But, as mentioned, the problem is that without the ability to manage your time, you can feel trapped in a perpetual cycle of sleeping restlessly, clawing through your day, and playing catch-up.

Yes, you’re prepared to work hard and go the extra mile. And, no you didn’t decide to become self-employed to have your quality of life thrown out of the virtual window.

It’s, well, time to reclaim your time with these four essential methods:

  1. Discover your ‘pockets of time.’
  2. Set aside allocated time for business admin and development.
  3. Map out your time with room for flexibility.
  4. Work with the right time management tools.

Let’s dive into each strategy.

1. Discover your ‘pockets of time’

To restore a healthy work-life balance, optimize your days with a little something I like to call the “pockets of time” trick.

If you look close enough, you will discover small but consistent pockets of time that offer the potential to take care of your daily duties while increasing your output systematically.

When you start looking for pockets of time, you’ll discover that they’re plentiful.

Start by identifying your time pockets. Some examples include:

  • That 20 minutes between the morning routine and the school run
  • The 30-minute train ride to the city
  • The 10 minutes spent waiting for an online shopping delivery
  • The extra 15 minutes for an extended lunch break
  • The 60 minutes when you watch repeats of your favorite Netflix series

Then, document daily or weekly milestones you would like to achieve within each gap.

You might find that these pockets of time are best for making personal phone calls, firming up family plans or getting a few extra steps in rather than actual work-based tasks (remember, this is all about striking a balance).

Even if your schedule only amounts to two hours per week, that’s eight hours per month that you’re using your time more productively and more methodically.

Before long, you’ll be on a path to reclaim your time.

While this streamlining system might take some effort to set up and get going, working with your pockets of time will soon become seamless. Before long, you’ll find that you can move fluently from one task or pursuit to the next, creating a sense of harmony in the process.

Related: Mindfulness for entrepreneurs

2. Set aside allocated time for business admin and development

With your pockets of time firmly in place, you can optimize your weekly schedule further by setting aside a specific morning or evening outside your core work hours to tackle business admin or development. These tasks might include:

  • Creative planning
  • Content production
  • Social media management
  • Competitive research
  • Networking
  • Budgeting and other bookkeeping

The reason for allocating time for admin and personal development a little more rigidly is because it will empower you to invest all of your efforts into specific work tasks or personal errands at the moment, rather than flitting from one task to the next in a crazed frenzy. That’s a strategic approach to reclaiming your time.

Focused time is time well spent — and it will boost your productivity while maintaining your physical as well as mental energy.

When you’re setting aside time for admin and development, choose a time and day you can realistically stick to and that aligns with when you feel the most comfortable.

For instance, if you feel super productive in the mornings, get up a little earlier one day to tackle your admin and development. Conversely, if you feel that you will focus better when everything else is tied up for the day, set up your workstation, grab a snack, and get going in the evening.

Related: Tips to grow a global business

3. Map out your time with room for flexibility

At this stage, you will know how to reclaim your time on a fundamental level: you will have discovered pockets of time to leverage; you will have become more fluent in how you tackle tasks, and you will have the framework in place to genuinely focus on whatever you are doing at the moment.

Now, this might seem counterintuitive but it’s critical to create a harmonious schedule: Leave a certain amount of flex to avoid falling behind or spinning back out of control. Here’s how:

  • Take a moment to examine the week ahead, looking at each day individually.
  • Allocate “slack time” — a measurement in minutes of how long you can potentially stretch out each pocket of time before having to rearrange your schedule — to each task or segment of your day.
  • Once you’ve gone through your week with a fine-tooth comb, go back through each day, making sure you’ve arranged your activities so that you have enough time to accomplish them thoroughly. Also, if you find any activity that you feel is redundant, remove it with haste.

Here are some additional tips that will empower you to add a certain amount of flex to your schedule … and take big strides toward fully reclaiming your time as a small business owner:

  • Set deadline delivery dates for clients or customers to complete the task one to three days earlier. That way you’ll leave yourself plenty of contingency time if something crops up — and if you deliver on your promises early, you will do wonders for your brand reputation.
  • Outsource certain aspects of your admin or work duties to other services or freelancers if possible. If you work with the right partners or people, you will enjoy a healthy return on investment (ROI) over time.
  • Have backup options in place (childcare options, trusted friends or family to help you out, and automated emergency email responses, for example) in case you are thrown a curveball, so you can solve any issues without stressing out too much and affecting other days in your working week.

Bonus tip: With your schedule ironed out, revisit all of your activities, commitments, and tasks, color-coding them according to priority. Doing this will empower you to make further tweaks to your schedule and optimize your agenda for optimum productivity.

Plus, this simple yet effective color-coded system will provide a practical key for all future scheduling commitments while guiding you to success when unexpected events, occurrences or setbacks (if something throws your schedule out, you’ll be able to refer to your color key to rearrange or postpone certain commitments to get more pressing matters with a cool, calm approach) unfold.

Note: When prioritizing your schedule, remember to attack it logically. Make sure that you prioritize your commitments according to their importance rather than what you like doing best. For example, while it’s vital to set aside an hour for a leisure activity if a project or proposal deadline is looming, that must come first — meaning you must color code it accordingly.

4. Work with the right time management tools

When considering how to reclaim your time, it’s always worth remembering that we live in a digital age where tools and technologies exist to make freelancers’ and business owners’ lives easier.

To help you roll out your optimized time management methods effectively, there are a wealth of effective tools that can help you get things done more quickly without compromising on professionalism or quality, including:

Take the time to research and compare these various types of time management-based tools and choose which ones you feel will offer the most value based on your specific business goals and needs.

Weave them into your weekly schedule, refining the way you use them until they integrate into your brand new schedule seamlessly. Eventually, you will discover that you’re able to tackle your to-do list more efficiently (and with a newfound sense of gusto) while striking that all-important healthy work-life balance.

Activities to help you understand how to reclaim your time

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein

Plan to streamline

Set aside time to set up your streamlining schedules, planning two weeks. Commit to your schedule and color key. At the end of the two weeks, reflect on how your life has changed as a result of your efforts.

Declutter to focus

Go through your home one room at a time and start cleansing. Sell or donate any items you don’t need and de-clutter your drawers, shelves, cupboards, etc. Doing so will reduce everyday distractions and help you focus on your streamlining efforts on a sustainable basis.

Look ahead to an important annual event

Whether it’s a major holiday or a big family birthday, volunteer to take the lead and organize the event, putting your newfound time management skills to the test. Doing so will also give you more control of times, dates and itineraries while incentivizing you to put plans in place so you can enjoy your time off as intended.

Clocking off

”Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” ~Jim Rohn

Even with the best mindset and the slickest of tool-backed time management schedules, things happen. Not every week will go your way and your work-life balance may suffer at times.

But, by following the steps above, you will know how to reclaim your time and get back on track swiftly, turning what was once a permanent state of stress into a temporary blip. The power is in your hands: the time to take charge of your schedule is now.

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Want to Succeed as an Entrepreneur? 14 Traits to Cultivate Now




If you had to choose one trait that you believed was the most necessary in order to succeed as an entrepreneur, what would it be and why? How can aspiring entrepreneurs cultivate it?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

1. The Ability to Problem-Solve

The one trait I would say is the most important to entrepreneurs is the ability to creatively problem-solve. Sometimes, solutions to business problems aren’t obvious and you have to find an out-of-the-box solution. That can be a real challenge because most people are taught to color within the lines.

Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

2. Grit

You need courage, resolve and strength of character to withstand the ebbs, flows and failures that lead to successful business. The best way to get this is through experience. I’ve seen a lot of young entrepreneurs with more grit than their older counterparts, especially when they had customer service jobs and worked their way up the ladder to experience different seats in the company.

Givelle Lamano, Oakland DUI Attorneys

3. Flexibility

One of the most essential traits an entrepreneur can possess is flexibility. You need to be able to change your approach in response to market conditions, customer feedback and what any partners or investors want at any given time. Being flexible also means looking at “failure” as a signal to make changes rather than as a permanent obstacle.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

4. Fearlessness

Aspiring entrepreneurs should be fearless. It’s fear that often prevents you from grabbing new opportunities, as new entrepreneurs are unable to decide what’s best for them or how a particular decision would affect them. Well, you won’t know unless you try. So, be quick with your decisions. Preparedness is great and all, but if you’re afraid to make a move, someone else will — and will likely succeed. 

Chris Klosowski, Easy Digital Downloads

Young businessman having a conversation

5. Sociability

To be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to focus on developing your social skills. When you have strong social skills, it becomes easier for you to build strong relationships with your customers, investors or anyone you think is important to your business. Good social skills make you a better communicator and help you make others feel secure so they connect with you on a deeper level.

Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP

6. Determination

One trait you need to succeed as an entrepreneur is determination. You’ll encounter people who don’t like your idea. There will be times when clients or investors reject you. Your first project idea may never see the light of day. You need to have the drive to move past these unfortunate situations if you want to find success.

Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

7. Decisiveness

Decisiveness is the main trait any successful entrepreneur needs to cultivate. From making decisions about the budget or day-to-day communication, maintaining the ability to decide and decide quickly remains imperative. I use mental models like Occam’s razor to run my life. For example, when presented with two options, I choose the simplest and I get a lot of significant work done.

Libby Rothschild, Dietitian Boss

8. A Realistic Mindset

Be realistic! An entrepreneur’s career is full of ups and downs, which are part of the learning process — and that’s a fact. Keeping your feet on the ground will save you much frustration when things don’t go the way you want. Instead, learn your lessons and keep moving. This will also help you to consider and prepare for multiple scenarios while adjusting along the way.

Riccardo Conte, Virtus Flow

9. Moxie

In order to be an entrepreneur, you must have some moxie. Being outspoken, direct, resilient and having the ability to persevere is something that most entrepreneurs have in common. You have moxie if you can get up after failing. Aspiring entrepreneurs can cultivate it by focusing on confidence. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t let others’ opinions or perceptions get in your way.

Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc.

Small business planning for growth

10. The Ability to Follow Long-Term Plans

The ability to follow and execute on a long-term plan — meaning multiple years — without being sidetracked by mirages along the way or discouraged by inevitable ups and downs is so important. This requires you to learn multiple skills, including attention to detail, deep work and strategic vision (as opposed to tunnel vision, which trips up many entrepreneurs). 

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

11. A Willingness to Keep Learning

If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you should have an open mind toward learning. It’s important for you to realize that learning is an ongoing process. It can help you develop new skills that in turn can help you stay ahead of your competitors at all times.

Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

12. A Self-Reflective Mind

One trait that can help aspiring entrepreneurs succeed is self-reflection. Embracing your mistakes and learning from them is the only way an entrepreneur can grow and be better than ever before. However, one can’t cultivate this skill by enrolling in a particular program. You have to have an open mind, give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and foster the courage to learn from them.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

13. Resilience

Resilience is one of the most important traits you can develop as an entrepreneur. The journey is going to have high highs and low lows, and it will be your ability to push through and persevere during this time that will be the difference between success and failure. To develop resilience, develop a positive mindset, build a strong support system, understand your purpose and look after yourself.

Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

14. The Ability to Thrive on Ambiguity

The cornerstone of entrepreneurial success is in the ability to accept and thrive on ambiguity. I have found that navigating the unpredictable landscape of business ventures requires you to possess a flexible mindset that can accommodate constant change and capitalize on emerging opportunities. Always stay updated with the latest developments and treat every change as an opportunity to grow.

Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

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The Art of Risk-Taking: Lessons from Successful Entrepreneurs



Entrepreneurship is a high-risk endeavor. Starting a new business takes bravery, resilience, and a willingness to accept risks. Many successful entrepreneurs attribute their success to calculated risks and pushing themselves outside their comfort zones.

In this article, we will explore the art of risk-taking and the lessons we can learn from successful entrepreneurs.

1. Understand the Importance of Risk-Taking

Taking risks is an essential component of entrepreneurship. It is tough to develop and produce anything new without taking risks. Risk-taking is necessary for growth and progress, as successful entrepreneurs recognize. They also recognize that not every risk will pay off, but the potential rewards make the effort worthwhile.

2. Do Your Research

Before taking any risks, it is important to do your research. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of gathering as much information as possible before making a decision. This includes researching the market, competition, and potential customers. By doing your research, you can make informed decisions and minimize your risks.

3. Network Effectively

Networking is an essential part of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of building relationships with potential investors, customers, and other entrepreneurs. They attend events and conferences, participate in industry groups, and use social media to expand their network and create new opportunities.

4. Stay Committed

Entrepreneurship is a long and challenging journey. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of staying committed to their goals and vision, even when faced with obstacles and setbacks. They stay focused on their end goal and are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to achieve it.

5. Collaborate with Others

Entrepreneurship is often a team effort. Successful entrepreneurs understand the value of collaborating with others and building strong partnerships. They seek out individuals who bring complementary skills and expertise to the table and work together to achieve a shared vision.

Buddy system at office

6. Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. It is important to surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and your vision. Successful entrepreneurs understand the value of having a support system and seek out mentors, advisors, and other entrepreneurs who can offer guidance and encouragement.

7. Set Realistic Goals

Taking risks is essential for entrepreneurship, but it is important to set realistic goals. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of setting achievable goals and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps. By setting realistic goals, entrepreneurs can reduce the risk of failure and stay motivated throughout the journey.

8. Stay Flexible

Entrepreneurship is a constantly evolving journey. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of staying flexible and adapting to changing circumstances. They are open to new ideas and are willing to pivot when necessary to stay ahead of the curve.

9. Learn from Feedback

Feedback is a valuable tool for entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs seek out feedback from customers, mentors, and advisors and use it to refine their ideas and improve their products or services. They understand that feedback is not a personal attack, but rather an opportunity to grow and improve.

10. Take Care of Yourself

Entrepreneurship can be a stressful and demanding journey. It is important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Successful entrepreneurs prioritize their health and well-being and make time for self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones. By taking care of themselves, entrepreneurs can stay energized and focused throughout their entrepreneurial journey.

Analyzing business startup costs

11. Take Action

Successful entrepreneurs do not let fear hold them back. They take action and move forward, even when they are unsure of the outcome. They understand that taking action is the only way to achieve their goals and make their vision a reality.

12. Take Calculated Risks

While taking risks is important, successful entrepreneurs also know the importance of taking calculated risks. They carefully assess the potential risks and rewards before making a decision, and have a backup plan in case things don’t go as expected.

13. Trust Your Gut

While research is important, successful entrepreneurs also trust their gut instincts. They understand that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust your intuition. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, once said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

14. Embrace Failure

Taking risks inevitably leads to failure at times. Successful entrepreneurs understand that failure is not the end, but rather an opportunity to learn and grow. They embrace failure and use it as a chance to improve and refine their ideas.

Entrepreneurial business people


The art of risk-taking is a critical component of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of taking risks, doing their research, trusting their instincts, embracing failure, taking action, and surrounding themselves with supportive people.

Aspiring entrepreneurs can boost their chances of success and make their entrepreneurial aspirations a reality by adhering to these guidelines.

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Running a Business

6 Key Levers of a Successful Organizational Transformation



Disruption used to be an exceptional event that hit an unlucky few companies — think of the likes of Kodak, Polaroid, and Blackberry. But in today’s complex and uncertain world, as we face challenges ranging from climate change to digitization, geopolitics to DEI, organizations must treat transformation as a core capability to master, as opposed to a one-off event.

At the same time, leaders must recognize that transformation is fraught with risk. In 1995, John Kotter found that 70% of organizational transformations fail, and nearly three decades later, not much has changed. Our own research, in which we spoke to more than 900 C-suite managers and more than 1,100 employees who had gone through a corporate transformation, showed similar results: 67% of leaders told us they had experienced at least one underperforming transformation in the last five years.

Considering that organizations will spend billions on transformation initiatives over the next year, a 70% failure rate equates to a significant erosion of value. So, what can leaders do to tilt the odds of success in their favor? To find out, we interviewed 30 leaders of transformations and surveyed more than 2,000 senior leaders and employees in 23 countries and 16 sectors. Half of our respondents had been involved in a successful transformation, while the other half had experienced an unsuccessful transformation.

So what tactics did the leaders of successful transformations use to manage the emotional journey? To find out, we built a model to predict the likelihood that an organization will achieve its transformation KPIs based on the extent to which it exhibited 50 behaviors across 11 areas of the transformation. This model revealed that behaviors in six of these areas consistently improved the odds of transformation success. Organizations that are above average in these areas have a 73% chance of meeting or exceeding their transformation KPIs, compared to only a 28% chance for organizations that are below average. Our research suggests that any organization that can effectively implement these six levers will maximize their chances of success.

Our research also found that a key difference in successful transformations was that leaders embraced their employees’ emotional journey. Fifty-two percent of respondents involved in successful transformations said their organization provided the emotional support they needed during the transformation process “to a significant extent” (as opposed to 27% of respondents who were involved in unsuccessful transformations).

Transformations are extremely difficult on a personal level for everyone involved. In the successes we studied, leaders not only made sure their teams had the processes, resources, and technology they needed — they also built the right emotional conditions. These leaders offered a compelling rationale driving the transformation, and they ensured employees had the emotional support they needed to execute. This meant that when the going inevitably got tough, employees felt appropriately challenged and ultimately energized by the stress.

By contrast, leaders of the unsuccessful transformations didn’t make the same emotional investment. When their teams hit the inevitable challenges, negative emotions spiked, and the team entered a downward spiral. Leaders lost faith and looked to distance themselves from the project, which led employees to do the same.

The Six Key Levers of Transformations

So what tactics did the leaders of successful transformations use to manage the emotional journey? The six levers that maximize the chances of success, according to our research are:

1. Leadership’s own willingness to change

Many people believe that a leader’s job is to look outward and give others guidance, but our research suggests that to help their workforce navigate a transformation, leaders need to look inward first and examine their own relationship with change. “If you are not ready to change yourself, forget about changing your team and your organization,” as Dr. Patrick Liew, executive chairman at GEX Ventures, told us.

In our interviews, leaders spoke of working on their own development, including engaging more with their emotions and becoming accustomed to the discomfort that accompanies personal growth. Leaders needed to “look into a mirror,” as one told us, and realize that they were part of the problem before the shift to a positive trajectory could take place. They needed to remove their own fear before they could help their employees get through this change.

“As someone who was tasked to lead this [transformation], if I’m being honest with you, it was pretty unsettling at the start, because I think by nature most of us like to know the path we’re going on,” as one COO from the automative industry told us. And a senior vice president in the global business services industry described needing to become more vulnerable and honest on their path to self-discovery: “I think I became even more aware of myself, who I am.”

2. A shared vision of success

Creating a unified vision of future success is another all-important foundation point of a transformation. In our research, 50% of respondents involved in successful transformations said the vision energized and inspired them to go the extra mile to a significant extent (as compared 29% of respondents in low-performing transformations).

Employees must understand the urgent need to disrupt the status quo. A compelling “why” can help them navigate the inevitable challenges that will arise during a transformation program. Many of the workers who took our survey said that they “wanted” and “needed” the vision to be communicated clearly. When leaders share a clear vision, the workforce is more likely to get on board. But if people don’t understand the vision or need for transformation, success is hard to achieve.

“It’s not about me telling people ‘This is what’s going to happen,’” as a managing director in the medical device industry told us. “It’s about me creating this shared sense of ownership…and then [coaching] my team on what they need to achieve. We very consciously want our teams to really buy into this is how we, as a collective, want to work.”

3. A culture of trust and psychological safety

Trust and care from leaders can make a difficult transformation more emotionally manageable. At the most basic human level, we all know what it feels like to be seen, listened to, and heard by another person. It can validate our effort, motivate us to work harder, and help assuage emotions like doubt, fear, anger, and sadness. Workers in our study shared that they wanted leaders who were patient and who also had, in the words of one employee, a “calm and teachable spirit.”

In a workplace with a high degree of psychological safety, employees feel confident that they can share their honest opinions and concerns without fear of retribution. When trust and psychological safety are missing, it’s difficult to persuade your workforce to make necessary changes. For example, one senior leader told us that employees at their company were extremely fearful of the transformation and didn’t feel that they could speak up about the problems they saw. Not surprisingly, the transformation did not go well.

4. A process that balances execution and exploration

Transformations obviously need disciplined project management to drive the program forward. But our research showed that leaders of successful transformations created processes that balanced the need to execute with giving employees the freedom to explore, express creativity, and let new ideas emerge. This empowers the workforce to identify solutions or opportunities that better meet the long-term goals of the transformation.

“Innovation requires the right people and processes,” said one respondent to our anonymous survey. “Both are critical to encourage collaboration and experimentation.”

We also found that creating space for small failures can ultimately lead to big success, whereas fear of any failure can lead to missed opportunities. Forty-eight percent of our respondents involved in successful transformations said the process was designed so that failed experimentation would not negatively impact their career or compensation to a significant extent. By contrast, only 29% of respondents in unsuccessful transformations said the same.

5. A recognition that technology carries its own emotional journey

The leaders in our study ranked technology as the biggest challenge they faced in their transformation efforts. There are a lot of emotions to manage when new systems or technology are introduced, from stress over how it works to fear about whether it will cause job loss or slow down the system.

In the underperforming transformations we studied, we saw the narrative shift away from the vision to focus on the technology itself. Whereas in the successful transformations, leaders ensured that technology was seen as the means to achieve the strategic vision. Furthermore, they prioritized quick implementations of new technology — focusing on a minimum viable product rather than perfect implementation. Lastly, they invested resources into skill development to ensure the workforce was ready to create value using the new technology.

“There were kickoff sessions with our senior managers to bring them in at the beginning of the process,” a vice president of a company in the media/advertising industry explained. “These sessions aimed to show them that what was being built was something that they had helped design, rather than something that was presented to them as a fait accompli…This minimized the numbers of active detractors.”

6. A shared sense of ownership over the outcome

In the successful transformations we studied, leaders and employees worked together to co-create an environment where everyone felt a shared sense of ownership over the transformation vision and outcome.

A prime example of this is many companies’ rapid shift to virtual and remote working during the pandemic. Because of the speed and urgency of the change, leaders needed to collaborate closely with the workforce to create new ways of working and be much more responsive to their views on what was or wasn’t going well. This mass co-creation helped build a sense of pride and shared ownership across both leadership and the workforce.

“In a transformation, things pop up all the time,” as Christiane Wijsen, head of corporate strategy at Boehringer Ingelheim, told us. “When you have a movement around you, supporters will buffer it and tweak it each time. When you don’t have this movement, then you’re alone.”

. . .

To conclude, it’s worth reiterating that all transformations are tough. Even during successful programs, there will come a time where people start to feel stressed. The skill at this difficult stage is being able to energize your workforce and turn that heightened pressure into something productive, as opposed to letting the transformation spiral downward into pessimism and underperformance.

What we saw throughout our research is that leaders who are truly working with their employees are much more successful. They acknowledge and manage emotions, rather than pushing them aside or ignoring them. The best leaders create vision across the organization and a safe environment to work together and listen to each other.

“You’ve got to be very, very respectful of people at a working level,” as Thomas Sebastian, CEO of London Market Joint Venture at DXC Technology, told us. “You’ve got to understand the emotional side and consider a completely different perspective, such as how is this transformation going to make their life easier.”

Success begets success. Once a workforce has undergone a successful transformation, they will be ready to go again. And given the pace of change in the world, organizations have got to be ready to go again.


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