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Show purposes

Leaders Series – Positive insight from uncertain times

Since lockdown began, GCS have been running virtual community events under the GCS Connect Brand on a variety of subjects - from Diversity to 5g, and talent acquisition to serverless technologies. Our Community Engagement officer Betty Lu has been instrumental in creating this dedicated community where the talented people and innovative companies we work with can come together, share ideas and generally take our minds off sitting on our own in our bedrooms!  

As part of this drive, we began to record interviews with key senior leaders in our network on their thoughts about business, technology, leadership and the pandemic. As a leader myself, and stuck in my front room during lockdown, I thought I would be the best person to play Michael Parkinson. Innovatively we decided to call it the GCS Connect “Leaders Series”.

We have now reached 15 episodes, and all are available on YouTube and Podcast, and as snippets on our website. It has been a great experience and one which I look forward to continuing, both for the enjoyment I get from finding out more about these experts in their field (ranging from entrepreneurs at the start of their business story, to MDs of some of the largest privately owned companies in Europe) as well as the valuable lessons I learn from each conversation.

Remember, always be willing to learn more and don’t forget the importance of mentorship.

On that note, here are my five key Leadership takeaways:

POSITIVITY – Each leader was able to speak about their business, project and the future in a positive but realistic way. When I spoke to Ken from Sky who has worked in a variety of businesses during periods of great innovation and change, he spoke about the importance of maintaining a positive culture and how it is key to getting the team to work together and feel passionate about their work. A leader has to show a vision and that vision should be achievable and yet, garner excitement. That positivity, even in challenging moments, is paramount.

COMMUNICATION – For 30 minutes, every leader spoke with authority and interest. They were each insightful and great conversationalists. Equally every leader spoke about communication and the importance of being able work with people and understand the power of the spoken word – so as you would imagine having the charisma to lead a conversation is one skill that I would say links all of these leaders. David McGovern of Liberty spoke about “reading the room” and the difficulty of doing so on video conferences where people are not engaged physically. Maybe this is the key challenge of Leadership in lockdown… how to communicate with your team when you are not with your team.

REMOTE WORKFORCE – Many of our leaders were experienced in leading global teams, which gave them the know-how of managing teams outside the office. Salman Hashmi of Ericsson spoke of the importance of continuous regular catchups, even video conferencing, throughout the day and using Slack and other chat channels to communicate. It is possible to create a “working together” environment but all our leaders stressed that this is a constant challenge which is a priority to get right.

USING TECHNOLOGY – Being a master of tech has become a key part of the leaders’ toolkit. Using tools like Teams, PowerBI, Streamyard and Slack means that even in a disconnected world, you are able to stay connected and lead. Michael Garcia of Enable spoke of the upcoming battle between the video conferencing tools (Teams, Hangouts and Zoom), the how winner of which will control a large part of the office environment. The fact that it is Google and Microsoft battling for supremacy of the communications world and not the mobile networks shows how important the video and virtual world is becoming.

DRIVING CHANGE – Each leader has driven rapid change within their business due to the pandemic. Whether this is through a change in business models, adjusting the working environment, or redirecting the course of a project, action has had to happen quickly. A number of our leaders converted all their staff to remote within a week despite this kind of process taking at least three to six months of planning for any company in normal circumstances. What is important now as we adjust to the “new normal” is that this pace of change is actually possible at any time. Could we make our businesses more efficient and flexible by carrying this urgency forward and leading a more lean and focused business? Our leaders seemed to think so, and saw this as a positive benefit of the last six months.

Without a doubt, the Leaders Series has given everyone involved insights into the workings of a variety of businesses and the mentality of our leaders. This is why we have our “Leaders Series” – getting this wealth of experience out into our community to help everyone thrive in the current environment.

For a deeper discussion on the subjects raised in this blog and more opinions from our leaders, tune in on 1st October at 4:30 PM on the GCS Recruitment Linkedin page.

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