Everything changes…

By David Blackburn, Chief People Officer, Financial Services Compensation Scheme


What do you do at the start of a New Year? Make resolutions? Look back on your achievements? Plan for the future?  Anyone looking back on the last few years would marvel at how much has changed – but what would they find the most remarkable? That we sent vehicles to Mars and the dark side of the Moon?  The emergence of digitally empowered democracy and the rise of populism – no one predicted President Trump? The ways in which we responded, or didn’t, to the spectre of climate change?


For me it’s the fact that within a generation, the pace of change went supersonic – change itself has changed. We are surrounded by all sorts of things that are changing at an exponential pace: the number of mobile devices in the world, CO2 emissions, data storage, Internet traffic, world energy consumption, population and knowledge itself.


Obviously nothing grows exponentially forever, yet as some trends slow (like the growth in mobile phone penetration), others catapult forward (like the on-going explosive growth in social media); and when these trends interact, they spawn new phenomena – like flash mobs and fake news.


So in 2019 what is the most important question for organisations – are we changing as fast as the world around us?  Almost all organisations and leaders are likely to say ‘no’.  Of course, change brings both peril and promise, but I believe the balance depends on your organisation’s ability to adapt.


Adaptability means looking for new opportunities; refreshing and revitalising your brand; redefining and developing your membership offering; being proactive in responding to emerging member needs; exploring new horizons in attracting and retaining talent; establishing an employee value proposition; articulating your digital strategy – I could go on.


In such a period of rapid and dramatic change it is more important than ever to ensure that you have a clear business strategy and the requisite capabilities to deliver it.  In the next decade, research from Franklin Covey (Critical Capabilities and Competencies of the Future – E.R. Bach) highlights that employees will expect five key principles to resonate strongly in their workplaces:


  • Collaboration – interwoven work, internally and externally.
  • Authenticity – leaders and colleagues who live the values.
  • Personalisation – tailor-made career paths and development plans.
  • Innovation – the ability to try new things and explore new thinking
  • Social connection – workplaces based on sharing and forming a community.


Against this back-drop we all need leaders who have a collaborative mind-set and work comfortably in a networked environment. Increasingly leaders will need to use social technologies to achieve this. Social media tools invite transparency, inclusion, and instant communication to address changing business situations. So, leaders will also need to be digitally confident.


If collaboration is central to success – one of our 3 values at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme – then it strikes me that memcom has a head start. memcom has a rich heritage of community, collaboration and trust and has always worked hard to bring senior thought leaders together for the benefit of the sector.  That same approach will no doubt surface new ideas and strategies to allow the sector to continue to flourish in the ever changing, uncertain and evolving landscape of 2019!