Chasing, Pacing, Leading – You Choose
Our work is really all about people. We specialise in people because they are the ones who make stuff work or not. There is plenty of material about leadership, all good, but this might not the best position for every person. So this piece is about all of the three positions mentioned in the title.
This is a great place to be if there is lots of change going on. We see two main types of change: change because innovation is rife and investment high or change because there is a power shift going on. You might argue that there are loads of other types of change, but stand a long way back, as we do and it mainly looks like one or the other. Chasing is a good place to be if it is the second type of change, also if the business is struggling for cash or for the right people. Not everyone is a demon at managing innovation, small and nimble often is; big and corporate rarely are. We have spent lots of time looking at organisations and honestly it is always the case, so chase if you are big, unless there is a way of engineering a small and nimble team.
Back to the cycling analogy. Pacing is tricky, it might sound cosy, having others around but being in a group requires balance, team working and the ability to move together. The banks largely paced each other, unfortunately they were all following the wrong lead, one fell over and the rest largely followed. These are the pitfalls dealt with but when does it work? Probably not very often, and we would be interested to hear from you on this one, but looking back over the last twenty six years of researching services, it does work, when the market is mature and the expertise and skill levels throughout are high. For example, accounting, legal services and possibly some support services. However customers in these sectors are also likely to say that they would love someone to shake it up, so the risks of pacing are high, but given the attitude to risk in these sectors, change arrives slowly.
As a business, The Halo Works has been out in front for the last twenty-one years. Part of the drive to write this piece was to share how this feels, and it is not all fun. It is hard at times, can be expensive; as investment in ideas and paving a way for others to join you is time consuming and therefore costly. It is also risky as others may decide you have taken a wrong path and not come along. However leading is a great place to be if making a difference is what makes your brand and service tick. It will be lonely to start with but not when it works, there is no better feeling than having led, lit the beacons and built a crowd of like minds around the idea or organisation. Leaders do get prizes sometimes, although not always what they were expecting. They are also a target so if leading is your choice, you might need to be good at catching bullets and turning them into trench art.
From personal experience we would say, lead if you can, especially now. If you have chased or paced for the last few years you were probably very sensible, but now is the best time to take the lead. Check the notes above and if you think you can move along then do. If you want any thoughts or help call us, we have a map we can lend you.
For a map or moral support email Alison@thehaloworks.com or call on +44 1276 477445