13 January 2014

The buzz word in 2013, in the technology industry in particular, was ‘disruption’. Like all buzz words, you can attach lots of different meanings to it but I’d sum it up as rapid innovation. Companies are getting thrills from surprising and shaking up the market with exciting and innovative new products and ideas. Virgin are one company doing just this and actually refer to themselves as disruptors. For Richard, this makes sense as he’s always railed against business as usual. You might argue that he was one of the original ‘disruptors’ of business.

I’m a great believer in the importance of innovation. I think Britain is a nation of innovators and it’s something we should be striving to do more of. However, I don’t think ‘disruption’ is the focus of 2014. I think it’s people and I’m not the only one. The results of one survey that questioned CEOs around the world on their challenges and priorities pointed towards employees and workplace culture as the main focus for business this year.  It also showed that business people were starting to realize the importance of their own leadership style.

Hopefully, this will be good news for businesses, their employees and their customers. I’ve always believed that finding and retaining the right people is essential if you want to grow your business. You can’t just pay people a wage and stop at that; you have to motivate them and lead by example. Many companies say they do one thing and then act in a way that totally contradicts that. Yes, we all make mistakes but you can’t claim to value an attribute if you don’t have it yourself. Ultimately, your staff are going to look at and measure you, and if you don’t live by your values, you’ll die by them.

What do you think? Is 2014 the year people take priority or will there be another focus?

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