For anyone at the helm of a business, 2020 and 2021 have been a rollercoaster ride. A constantly changing situation and limited concrete information to work with have meant that many decisions have had to be made on instinct and gut feel. ‘Agile’ has been part of management thinking for decades, but it’s taken on new significance during COVID, as leaders have had to respond, often in a matter of hours, to new situations, restrictions and challenges.
In the professional print sector, there’s no question of the dramatic impact the pandemic has had on order books, production volumes and working practices. The resilience we’ve seen in our customer base has been amazing. We’ve watched customers reorganise their workforce, manage staff absences, introduce new systems and processes, accelerate plans to automate workflows, put online ordering in place for their customers, pivot production to new applications, and develop new service and product propositions to meet changing customer needs.
As a technology partner to these print businesses, we’ve supported with a combination of central and local initiatives to meet different needs and ramped up the information and business advice we share, whether through our customer-facing teams, via webinars and podcasts, and through our virtual Make It event, with its focus on business recovery and growth.
Listening to our Make It keynote speakers, all prominent experts on leadership, one thing was crystal clear. Surviving and thriving in tough times is really all about attitude. At times like this, entrepreneurs can’t always be sure of making the right decision, because they simply don’t have all the data. But if they come at things with positivity and purpose, they’ll bring out the best in themselves and their teams and keep moving forward.
René Carayol talked about finding your ‘spike’, your unique strength, and honing it. Mental toughness expert Penny Mallory zoned in on the need to learn from setbacks and commit 100% to your goals. Simon Alexander Ong emphasised the importance of seeing obstacles as opportunities. “When you focus on what you can control, you become empowered to take action, and energised”, he says.
Wise words. But if it’s hard to imagine what the future looks like, how do you decide where to put that focus? Talking to our Canon Ascent Programme mentors, all of whom are actively advising print businesses, one message is consistent – businesses succeed when they see their services and products through the customer’s eyes, strive to understand their needs at a deeper level, and find ways to add real value through the delivery of their services and products.