IBEM Executive Thought Leadership Forum – October 2023

IBEM staged its annual event on Thursday 12th October 2023, ‘Unlocking Executive Leadership Through the Trust Economy’ in London at Freeths LLP.

We would like to thank our sponsors at Freeths LLP and all the support Stewart Elliston and his team provided in making this event possible and welcoming to all our guests.

Our key note speakers did a spectacular job in sharing their prospective and wisdom with the audience, a big thank you to our CEO Geoff Hudson-Searle, Dan Ilett, Douglas Lines, Sally Duckworth, Lieutenant Colonel Oakland McCulloch, and Julian Middleton.

The Executive Thought Leadership Forum at IBEM had been in our sights for some time: businesses, particularly in Leadership, need to navigate a different course and see the Global Economy through a different lens – change is speeding up – Change is not a phase, change is constant. CEO’s are being measured with a new yardstick The supreme test of a CEO and board of directors is now the value they create not just for shareholders, but for all stakeholders.

A few key thoughts from the event:

• Trust is fundamental to a healthy organizational culture. Each organization must choose whether to earn a trust dividend or pay a trust-tax.
• Every organization has a culture. The best organizations invest in shaping and nurturing their culture.
• People follow leaders. Compliance-based organizations that do not invest in trust are losing trillions annually.
• Leadership and trust are earned, not an entitlement.
• One toxic manager can poison an organization and your culture is determined by the behaviors your reward and tolerate. Choose carefully.

Invite: IBEM Unlocking Exec Leadership Oct 2023 – Invite
Slides: IBEM Unlocking Exec Leadership Oct 2023 – Slides – V3

The IBEM Executive Thought Leadership Forum and Launch of the The Trust Paradigm Book

This week marked a proud milestone with the launch of my 6th and final book: ‘The Trust Paradigm’. We launched the book in conjunction with the “IBEM Executive Thought Leadership Forum” in London at Freeths LLP.

We would like to thank our sponsors at Freeths LLP and all the support Stewart Elliston and his team provided in making this event possible.
Keynote speakers and thought leadership was delivered by Mark Herbert – my co-author on the book; Douglas Lines; my co-Director in IBEM, Karen Jones, CEO of Denison Consulting; Luke Dixon, Partner of Freeths LLP on Data Security; Dan Ilett, CEO of Tollejo in his expert capacity as event moderator.

More about the speakers and the image-gallery: Trust Paradigm – Booklaunch – Nov. 2022

We would like to thank all our guests at the event who traveled internationally and nationally to attend the event.

Download the PDF with Event Slides: The IBEM Executive Thought Leadership Forum and Official Launch of The Trust Paradigm

Download the PDF with official invite: Executive Thought Leadership Invite

The Executive Thought Leadership Forum has been in our sights for some time: businesses, particularly in leadership, need to navigate a different course and see the global
economy through a different lens – change is speeding up – change is not a phase, change is constant.

The event covered senior executive thought leadership presentations across design thinking, business model innovation, innovation, corporate culture, trust, business risk and datasecurity.

Trust directly influences the actions and outcomes of business every day. By embedding trust in a company’s business, leaders generate value for their stakeholders and society more broadly now and in the future. Trust between employer and employee and among employees enhances human capital investment.

This event launched my new book, together with Mark Herbert: The Trust Paradigm.

At the event, trust was discussed as the foundation of healthy relationships. At its core, trust is the willingness of one party to be vulnerable to the actions of another. It is an expectation that two parties will act in a way that is mutually beneficial. For these reasons, trust is a key element of effective communication, teamwork, employee commitment and productivity. It leads to stronger working relationships and a healthier organizational culture.

We know that trust is the glue that holds teams together and creates positive, productive workplaces. But how much trust do you have in your professional and personal relationships? And how do you build more trust if it’s lacking?

Trust is the currency of leadership. When you have established trust with the people around you, you are a more effective and efficient leader.

You will be more effective because you will encounter less resistance to your ideas and will be able to achieve results faster. You will also be more efficient because you will be able to produce these results using less of your time and energy.

Every interaction we have with another person is either placing a deposit or making a withdrawal in their emotional bank account. When you make regular deposits, it creates a positive balance, and there is trust. When we make too many withdrawals, we become overdrawn, which results in distrust.

When you follow the rules within for this strategy and take action using the universal deposits, you will build a solid foundation of credibility and trust as a mindful leader.

Because of the inherent vulnerability involved in trusting relationships, it is widely understood that trust must be earned. This is true whether it is between two colleagues, a manager and employee, or even between an employee and the organization at large. In some instances, it can be hard to build and sustain because individuals may not be aware of the unintentional ways that they have broken trust with their colleagues.

Trust helps to make challenging conversations easier, teams more integrated and employees more engaged. Exploring ways in which trust can be built can help individuals and companies create stronger relationships and healthier cultures.

Trust within organisations boosts productivity and employee engagement, helps leaders and teams to focus on what is important and reduces friction. Furthermore, while an issue of cross-generational relevance, organisational trust is particularly important to the younger members of the workforce: millennials and members of Gen Z. Transparency, enablement and a culture of trust boost their loyalty and commitment, while a lack thereof can be a primary reason to leave an employer.

Therefore, building trust within organisations is not only key to withstanding current challenges, but will pay off in the future. To inspire decision-makers to lead with the next generation in mind, leaders have more work to do to leverage the power of trust in their organisations, and this presents the opportunity for new paradigms.

A few key thoughts:

• Trust is fundamental to a healthy organizational culture. Each organization must choose whether to earn a trust dividend or pay a trust-tax.
• Every organization has a culture. The best organizations invest in shaping and nurturing their culture.
• People follow leaders. Compliance-based organizations that do not invest in trust are losing trillions annually.
• Leadership and trust are earned, not an entitlement.
• One toxic manager can poison an organization and your culture is determined by the behaviors your reward and tolerate. Choose carefully.

Download free chapters 7 & 10 from the book: PDF

Get your copy at these great stores: BUY ‘The Trust Paradigm’


The Pathway to The Trust Paradigm

London Live – News At 6 – 19th October 2022

Startupgrind: Tech Leaders’ challenges and leadership traits in the digital age. Fireside chat with Geoff Hudson-Searle

We have made great strides in technology over the last years, but are we ready? Does our virtual century require anthropocentric leadership? What leadership traits are the most useful in the current pace?

StartupGrind invited Geoff Hudson-Searle, for a fireside chat to explore the challenges tech leaders face, from ensuring security and prioritising digital protection to building resilience and trust. Geoff will discuss strategy, scaling tech companies, and his own experience as international management professional.

Each of us is, to some extent or other, a reflection of the experiences of our lives. However, whether and how we succeed is determined at least in part by how we cope with those experiences and what we learn from them. This is the story of a man who, despite a difficult family life and professional setbacks, developed the determination, drive and skills to create a successful business and a happy life.

Leadership forces you to stay true to yourself and to recognize when you are at your best and when you are at your worst; the important thing is to stay focused and keep moving forward. He learned that it is overcoming adversity that brings the most satisfaction, and that achievements are made more meaningful by the struggle it took to achieve them.

Change has a funny habit of teaching you much about yourself; it goes to the core of your own weaknesses, strengths and eccentricities. Leadership forces you to stay true to yourself and recognize times when you are at your best and worst; the key is to stay focused and to make decisions that will look at continuous improvement. Even though this may be a small, incremental change, it is positive change you can build upon even though you may be in quicksand.

Covid-19 was a crucible within which resilient leadership is refined. Acting without perfect information, often with only a few hours or days to spare, CEOs have to guide their organisations through myriad decisions and challenges, with significant implications for their company’s whole system; employees, customers, clients, financial partners, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders, as well as for society as a whole.

Clarity of thinking, communications, and decision-making will be at a premium. Those CEOs who can best exhibit this clarity, and lead from the heart and the head, will inspire their organisations to persevere through this crisis, positioning their brand to emerge in a better place, prepared for whatever may come. Crises like these, with deep challenges to be navigated, will also lead to opportunities for learning and deepening trust with all stakeholders, while equipping organisations for a step change that creates more value not just for shareholders, but for society as a whole.

Adversity of any magnitude should make us stronger and fill us with life’s wisdom, however, art in any form is born from adversity, I wrote ‘Freedom after the Sharks’ from adversity and set up a business in the double-dip of 2008 and 2009 – many people have done the same and it is almost a universal theme in the lives of many of the world’s most eminent creative minds.

For artists who have struggled with physical and mental illness, parental loss during childhood, social rejection, heartbreak, abandonment, abuse, and other forms of trauma, creativity often becomes an act of turning difficulty and challenge into an opportunity.

As Eckhart Tolle once said:

“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.”

Determination, resilience, and persistence are the enabler for people to push past their adversities and prevail. Overcoming adversity is one of our main challenges in life. When we resolve to confront and overcome it, we become experts at dealing with it and consequently triumph over our day-to-day struggles.

At any time, thriving organisations are true to their purpose, rely on their values, and model agility. Today’s pandemic, which will reduce profits all over the world, is a searing test of every organisation’s culture and values. Leaders who have laid a solid cultural foundation, authentically committed to a set of values, and defined and depended on an inspiring purpose are leading through this crisis by making a difference in the lives of employees and the communities they serve. This crisis also serves as a furnace for change for those companies that haven’t yet laid the foundation for a thriving culture.

Leaders today are constantly in the spotlight and are often called upon to earn authority without control. Economic and social change demands leadership by consent rather than by control. What we perceive as good leadership tends to be created by leaders, followers, and the context and purpose of the organisation, thus it is a collective rather than individual responsibility.

Trust is a key ingredient of successful leadership. Trusted leaders are the guardians of the values of the organisation. Trust can release the energy of people and enlarge the human and intellectual capital of employees. In a trusting environment when we are committed to our shared purpose we play active roles both as leaders and as followers.
We talk a lot about trust these days because it tends to be a precious and scarce resource.

You could question the word empathetic leadership. Leaders with empathetic leadership listen attentively to what you’re telling them, putting their complete focus on the person in front of them and not getting easily distracted. They spend more time listening than talking because they want to understand the difficulties others face, all of which helps to give those around them the feeling of being heard and recognized.

Empathetic executives and managers realize that the bottom line of any business is only reached through and with people. Therefore, they have an attitude of openness towards and understanding of the feelings and emotions of their team members.

When we listen to the emerging needs of the workplace we step into the most relevant and useful roles and make relevant and valuable contributions both when leading and when following. Members of organisations who are sensitive to people’s reactions trust themselves and each other. They build and nurture trusting relationships and allow the future to emerge organically.

No heroic leader can resolve the complex challenges we face today. To address the important issues of our time we need a fundamental change of perspective. We need to start questioning many of our taken for granted assumptions about our business and social environments.

Leaders serve as role models for their followers and demonstrate the behavioural boundaries set within an organisation. The appropriate and desired behaviour is enhanced through culture and socialisation process of the newcomers. Employees learn about values from watching leaders in action. The more the leader “walks the talk”, by translating internalized values into action, the higher level of trust and respect he generates from followers.

Final thought, to help bridge the trust gap we recognise that organisations need to work with each other and with wider society to identify practicable, actionable steps that businesses can take to shape a new relationship with wider society: a new ‘settlement’ based on mutual understanding and a shared recognition of the positive role that business plays in people’s lives.

To create such a settlement, businesses need to see themselves as part of a diverse, interconnected and interdependent ecosystem – one that involves government, regulators, individual citizens and more. Trust within and across this ecosystem is key to its long-term sustainability and survival. That’s why trust needs to be restored to the heart of the business world.

A great quote by Douglas MacArthur – American military leader who served as General of the Army, this quote always resonates with true leadership.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

Judge at The LLoyds Bank National Business Awards UK

I am deeply honoured to be nominated again in 2020 as one of Lloyds Banking Group esteemed panel of judges for this year’s National Business Awards programme. I have been nominated to judge on the Experian Data Excellence Award.

The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards is the UK’s premier platform for celebrating excellence, innovation and expertise in organisations of all sizes across the public, private and third sectors. I am looking forward to meeting some of the UK’s finest innovators and management teams, that support our economy.

The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards is the UK’s premier platform for celebrating excellence, innovation and expertise in organisations of all sizes across the public, private and third sectors.
The Awards have achieved strong support from senior government bodies, business leaders, academics and corporate sponsors.

The judging process will finish with an invitation as VIP guest to attend The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards ceremony on 10th November 2020 at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.


UK-Central Europe Business Summit – Technology, Innovation, Investment

I am looking forward to attending the UK-Central European Business, Technology, Innovation, Investment Summit in Budapest – Hungary on May 11th – 2020.

There will be over 100+ Central European and British Companies including the British Chamber of Commerce (Corporate sector and SMEs) in the IT, Technology and Investment Sectors, to include; Vodafone, Tesco, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, BP, MOL, Samsung, Mastercard, KNORR Bremse, investors, angels, private equity and VC’s.

The summit will cover technology, innovation and investment across some of the largest talked about subjects in business today.

I am looking forward to being a panellist at this prodigious event, debating international trade, growth and development to Central European Markets.

Innovation’s role is a key driver of economic growth, in general, #innovation benefits go beyond #productivity and can improve welfare through channels such as lower morbidity and longer longevity. In digital technologies such as AI, in ICT including quantum computing, and in genomics and synthetic biology about one-third of the increase in longevity in Europe, for instance, is due to innovation.

May 12th, I will be introduced to business leaders discussing my new book “Purposeful Discussions”, the 4th Industrial Revolution and Future Trends; some of the topics I will be discussing are as follows:

Innovation – Innovation increases your chances to react to changes and discover new opportunities. It can also help foster a competitive advantage as it allows you to build better products and services for your customers.

Regulation The impact of formal standards and regulation on companies’ innovation efficiency in different levels of technological uncertainty.

Geopolitical The increasing spectrum of political and economic activity occurring outside government control or oversight means that vulnerabilities have increased throughout the networks of globalisation.

Summit-details and tickets:



‘Purposeful Discussions’ – leadership insights into the 4th Industrial Revolution! 30th April, 2020

Purposeful Discussions cover

‘Purposeful Discussions’ – leadership insights into the 4th Industrial Revolution! 30th April, 2020 – 18:00h

How to enable and protect your business with a remote workforce?

The 4th Industrial Revolution has been in our sights for some time, businesses, particularly in leadership need to navigate a different course and see the global economy through a different lens, change is speeding up, change is not a phase, change is constant.

The 4th Industrial Revolution will impact us all whether you’re a Startup or Business Leader.

Our speaker’s book was written to support these people through these challenges to co-create a more sustainable future. The issues attached to business carry many moving parts including threats to government, business and most marriages.

This event is brought to you by:
Entrepreneurs Specialist Group (E.S.G), we cover the challenges of building and growing your Startup or Scaleup as well as showcasing successes, plus provide ongoing mentorship to help your business find and maintain success.
Elite, The IT leaders forum, an exclusive forum for CIOs, CTOs, IT directors, academics and other leaders from within and beyond the computing industry, across disciplines and sectors.

Presentations will be followed by a short panel discussion period about the subject matter and allow you to ask questions to help you address challenges you may be experiencing.

There’ll be an opportunity to continue networking over refreshments.

18:00 Registration & Refreshments.
18:15 Welcome/Introduction from Phil Crewe.
18:30 Our guest speaker Geoff Hudson-Searle will make a short presentation on the event subject matter.
18:50 A fireside chat with Geoff Hudson-Searle led by Shakeeb Niazi.
19:15 Panels session with experts.
19:45/20:00 Break, Food & Refreshments.
20:00 Networking and optional Mentoring activities – we aim to provide an opportunity for speed mentoring or group sessions, for all those attending, with a variety of subject matter experts and mentors.
21:00 Close.

Our Speakers
Geoff Hudson-Searle https://www.linkedin.com/in/geoffsearle/
Managing Director – International Business and Executive Management Limited

Geoff is author of ‘Purposeful Discussions’, a book is already nominated as the MBA course book for the University of Budapest, he is preparing for radio, tv and media appearances. The book is actively being distributed across the US.

We do hope you can join us!

Details & tickets: https://bcsent300420.eventbrite.co.uk/

The BCS Entrepreneurs Group
Visit our BCS Entrepreneurs Website
Join the BCS Entrepreneurs Group on LinkedIn
Follow us on Twitter @BCSEntrepreneur
Or email: entrepreneurs@bcs.org

‘Purposeful Discussions’ Book Launch – March 19, 2020

Purposeful Discussions cover

March 19, 2020
The launch of Purposeful Discussions

Launching “Purposeful Discussions” with a book signing at Waterstones, and Exclusive Invitee Only Party.

My fifth book, “Purposeful Discussions” will be finally launched on 19th March 2020 at Waterstones, and it has been an incredible journey. One that I am so proud of and I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading it.

A gathering of business industry professionals and leaders for our exclusive Spring Equinox Drinks with Jazz get-together in the exclusive surroundings in the City of London.

It will be a wonderful evening of great minds and meaningful conversations across some of today’s greatest challenges in business, business trends and business futures.

This exclusive event will also be the launch for ‘Purposeful Discussions’. This book is now my fifth book in a series of books that provide purpose-driven outcomes in support of some of the most talked-about subjects in life today.

Below you will find some reviews on ‘Purposeful Discussions’


“Geoff has that rare gift of not just being an inspirational speaker and conversationalist, but more importantly in also being able to teach others how to communicate better with more meaningful discussion.

His last book, ‘Meaningful Conversations’, connected its readers to the most fundamental art of conversation, showing how to engage with others through simply talking with one another face to face rather than through the plethora of digital communications tools we’ve all replaced it with. It makes us realise we all need to make more time to be, well, human.

I can’t wait to read his next book which will take readers to that next level of not just engaging with one another in conversation, but to give each encounter purpose and mutual fulfilment. His books make us grow with each page and shows us just how disconnected we’ve become by our dependence on technology, and how to reconnect with our humanity.”

Moran Lerner
Serial Entrepreneur, Executive Director and Investor

“One of the greatest challenges leaders face is being wholly ‘on purpose’ when they communicate, particularly toward the advancement of their personal and organizational vision. In Purposeful Discussions, Geoff Hudson-Searle’s insights and advice serve as a beacon for executives seeking to achieve their goals expeditiously while being personally fulfilled along their journey.”

Lisa Petrilli
Executive leader, strategic marketing and head of Medline patient experience & innovation institute
Medline Industries Inc

“Another great book by Geoff. His insights into the modern world of communication and developing strategy at the highest levels are both revealing and poignant for the turbulent times we live in. An essential book for both those in business and those travelling through the journey of life.”

Neil Alphonso
Entrepreneur and Business leader

“In his latest book, ‘Purposeful Discussions’, author Geoff Hudson Searle continues to reinforce the importance and critical role that face to face conversation plays in achieving organizational goals.

His latest entry describes both the criticality of purposeful discussion and how those key conversations are distinguished from what passes for communication in this age of technology and immediate gratification.

Trust remains the foundation of high functioning relationship and can only be achieved by meaningful dialogue between the parties…..”

Mark F. Herbert
Executive Director of New Paradigms LLC

“Having had the pleasure of reading ‘Freedom after the Sharks’ in which the author takes you on a real-life journey of no-hidden truths about life and business. I was then keen to read ‘Meaningful Conversations’, a book that totally gripped me from start to finish.

It really empathised the importance of communication, strategy, growth and planning. This book gives you the guidance as well as the tools you need to help devise effective solutions to the issues we face in business on a day-to-day basis.

I must admit that I cannot wait for the release of Purposeful Discussions, because if it is anything like the last two books I have read by this author then I know I am in for a very enjoyable read.”

Stewart Elliston

Principal Head of Business Development at Freeths LLP

“Without a doubt in today’s world communication has become key as the personalisation wave encompasses us.
Geoff’s book highlights the ever-increasing importance of framing those conversations correctly in business and in our social circles.

Emphasising the importance of messaging, context and timing. A book worth the read for all business people, irrespective of how experienced you are.

Neil Currie
International Executive Director

“A refreshing insight into the real challenges that decision-makers face in an increasingly dynamic and demanding business environment. Geoff has taken an honest look into how technology and human interaction co-operate and how this union can effect positive outcomes for us. A must-read for anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Michael Sharp DipPFS, ACII
Principal of Sharp Wealth Management, Associate Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management Plc

“Purposeful communications and discussions have to be learnt as they are element skills of professionals. Geoff’s book is an amazing, tool for us all to develop these skills. Don’t stop learning keep earning!”

Susanna Toth
H-Net Translation Agency
Associate Partner of Trade Bridge Group

“There are very few people that truly understand how to have a meaningful and productive conversation and I can say the Geoff is one of those individuals.
Active listening and the ability to communicate effectively is key to success. I look forward to reading the new book.”

Hitachi Vantara
North America Delivery Leader – Insights and Data

Launching “Meaningful Conversations” with a book signing at Waterstones, Presentation and Party

My second book, “Meaningful Conversations” was finally launched on 28th January 2017 at Waterstones, and it has been an incredible journey. One that I am so proud of and I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading it.

I would like to thank Mark and Jackie, Sylvia and Liam, and Lisa my wonderful friends who allowed me to dream and who never stopped believing in this book. Without their love, support and constant belief, this book would not have been possible.

Below you will find some reviews and a gallery with snapshots from the launch.

In the sidebar on the right I put some links to selected booksellers – all other related posts you can find here: “My second book”. Also, check out my dedicated site: Meaningful Conversations Book.


“Meaningful conversations is a brilliant follow up to Geoff’s first book Freedom After the Sharks. Although it is quite different Geoff’s passion and commitment are clearly present!”
Mark F Herbert, author of Managing Whole People

“Geoff has demonstrated his unique awareness and experience of how to succeed in business (or indeed any other human endeavour) by identifying 3 essential success factors. Simple as it sounds, it makes logical sense. Starting with the complexity of communication, he reminds us that without it nothing can move forward. His next step is all about the need for a clearly thought out strategy. Of.course, this is much more difficult to define and the appropriateness and effectiveness of the strategy will only be identified after implementation. The final leg is Growth and Planning. Providing there is good communication and a good strategy, then growth and planning will deliver the results. It is clear that Geoff is talking from a position of knowledge and experience and his thoughts and ideas make a lot of sense. All in all the book is packed with lots of useful nuggets and suggestions. A useful guide for any budding entrepreneur or indeed many CEOs.”
Amazon Customer

“Great book! Brilliant combination of practical guidance on key aspects of business development & growth as well as fresh look at some of the main challenges and opportunities facing businesses of our time. Strongly recommended for corporate managers and entrepreneurs.”
Amazon Customer

“Extraordinary insight into whole range of issues that face those in positions of responsibility. Completely accessible and invaluable guide.”
Simon Halstam


I will be speaking at London’s first Fintech Security Summit on 10th May


I will be speaking about Int growth at London’s first Fintech Security Summit on 10th May.

What: Globalisation of Cyber Security – case study: a look at how Kaspersky Internet Security grew internationally.

Date: Tuesday 10 May, 2016

Time: 2:55pm – 3:10pm

Venue: Rainmakingloft London

Details: Fintech Security Summit 2016


Is Strategy within Digital Transformation Important?

business-social-transformationI have been invited to a very interesting conference next week called, Enterprise Digital Summit London the conference is aimed at digital transformation and driving business value with digital and social collaboration. The event is focused on business process and ROI aimed at people in business who want to find out how, as well as to listen from experienced practitioners and consultants.

The event will take place on Thursday 22nd October at The British Academy for the humanities and social sciences, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace and the speakers include Stowe Boyd (Gigaom Research) other speakers include Professor Vlatka Hlupic (Westminster University and author of The Management Shift), Stanley Awaku (Vodafone), David D’Souza (CIPD), Kim England (Pearson plc), Belinda Gannaway (Belinda Gannaway Consulting Ltd),  Björn Negelmann (Kongress Media).

This week’s Monday blog, I thought I would focus on some of the topics from the conference and provide some tips, advise and thought leadership on the following:

What are the strategic building blocks for Digital Transformation?

One of the greatest challenges for managers is persuading senior leaders to more fully embrace digital within their organisations. Many managers have a good idea about what they want to do, but need to argue or build the business case internally in order to receive funding. In many cases, this is the major barrier to moving towards digital transformation.

In those organisations where digital is not given much prominence, it is usually because the business has not yet been affected by a real negative impact on their revenues because of digital. Leadership teams have been forced to look holistically at their organisation and consider where digital can play a major role in improving performance.

In organisations where this is not a problem, digital is likely to be either a key revenue stream, an operational necessity or a key differentiator, so digital is the key part of the overall business strategy.

blog post 5 Oct 2015In both instances, it is imperative to have a clearly informed business case that helps position how digital can closely align with the goals of the business, and not on digital trends and fashions.

Barriers to adoption of a digital strategy

What will it take to break down the barriers to digital engagement, so that organisational leaders and other senior professionals will commit themselves to digital transformation? First and foremost, they have to make a mental shift, to recognise that it’s actually in their best interests to give serious consideration to how they and their organisations must adapt to Digital Era realities in significant ways.

Getting to the tipping point, when digital engagement and transformation are considered the norm, is going to take:

Time- Change of this magnitude is going to be slow, especially in industries and organisations where there is not much precedent for the potential value that new technologies and ways of working can offer. It will take time to shift perceptions of Digital Era technologies from novelties to utilities, and from short-term fads to long-term trends.

Increased media exposure – A year ago, little was written in the mainstream press about topics like digital currency and cybersecurity. More recently, ideas like digital transformation and cognition as a service are still being introduced. The more subjects like these move from technical and niche publications to more widely-read outlets, the more likely their importance and implications will be understood.

Education and training – Both formal and informal approaches to learning – especially programs targeted to leaders and experienced professionals – will help accelerate the necessary shifts in knowledge and understanding, and ultimately behavior. Academic institutions, private service providers, and employers themselves need to make digital literacy a strategic imperative for workers at all levels in a all types of roles.

Relatable market leaders – The more examples there are of organizations that have successfully undertaken digital engagement and transformation initiatives, the less resistant later adopters are likely to be. These examples have to come not just from the consumer space, but also in business-to-business enterprises, the public sector, higher education, non-profit organisations, and more. As we emerge from the economic doldrums we’ve been in for years, organizations with stronger appetites for risk will take chances and start to reap visible rewards. When they do, others will start to follow.

Driving employee engagement

Employee engagement is the key to business success. It is the result of the psychological contract plus the experience that exists between employee and employer. The foundation of employee engagement is respect, trust, and performance. Engagement is dynamic because it changes over the course of an employee’s tenure at a workplace and overall career as a consequence of multiple events and factors.

Engagement is intrinsic and individual. In conclusion, engagement is all about “I.” It is a voluntary connection to the business and to its purpose; it includes an emotional component to the workplace in order to achieve its desired outcomes.

Employees decide if they want to be engaged. Thus, even though employee engagement entails an emotional connection, it also involves a rational component as the employee decides whether or not to be engaged given her individual circumstances. We have concluded that, even though many workplaces may seem to be similar, they are as unique as the individuals who belong to them, which in turn affects what it means for employees to be engaged with the organisation.

As you may expect, the definitions and explanations of employee engagement are as varied as the authors who have proposed them; however, they have some similarities. These definitions include emotional, rational, and practical features that are connected to engagement’s impact on businesses as well as on employees. In general, these definitions refer to engagement as voluntary. Each well-known definition includes these important components; in addition, there are other factors that contribute to move employee engagement in a particular direction. These factors are typically known as drivers of engagement.

Driving ROI

The benefits to strategic planning are intangible and show hard bottom-line return on investment (ROI). Every day, your work impacts aspects of your business. Following these tips can help you realise the true day-to-day impact of having a strategic plan in place:

Spend more time on high-impact, high-growth activities. These activities are where you want to spend as much time as possible. With these maneuvers, you spend less time going around in circles.

Identify true opportunities versus false starts. If you know what you’re best at and where you want to go, you can more quickly identify true opportunities. Strategic planning helps you put the boundaries on your business. When you ignore extraneous distractions, you use your resources more effectively and more quickly to grow your organisation.

Internal advancement, such as in your career as a leader, can come from being involved in strategy development and using it as a true guide to your work.

Achieve your vision for success. You started your organisation for a reason. You likely have a vision for your business. If you want to achieve your vision for success, you have to specifically figure out how you’re going to get there. Having a strategic plan makes success intentional.

Increase employee commitment. Strategic planning increases employee commitment — especially in this tight labour market. Helping your employees see the vision that you have for success and growth helps you work toward that goal.

Culture change and leadership required to transform

Changing an organisation’s culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges. That is because an organisation’s culture comprises an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions.

The elements fit together as an mutually reinforcing system and combine to prevent any attempt to change it. That’s why single-fix changes, such as the introduction of teams, or Lean, or Agile, or Scrum, or knowledge management, or some new process, may appear to make progress for a while, but eventually the interlocking elements of the organizational culture take over and the change is inexorably drawn back into the existing organizational culture.

Changing a culture is a large-scale undertaking, and eventually all of the organisational tools for changing minds will need to be put in play. However the order in which they deployed has a critical impact on the likelihood of success.

In general, the most fruitful success strategy is to begin with leadership tools, including a vision or story of the future, cement the change in place with management tools, such as role definitions, measurement and control systems, and use the pure power tools of coercion and punishments as a last resort, when all else fails.

I would welcome your comments on your management experiences.

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