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Of dinosaurs and dancing elephants 1: Breaking through to better business performance

by Chris Marston | February 14, 2023

by Chris Marston, chief executive of LawNet

Recent months have given a brutal demonstration of the challenge we all face in keeping pace with societal, economic, political and business change.

Who could have imagined that 2022 would see the horrors of the Russian invasion of Ukraine; that we would be mired in an energy crisis of a scale not seen since the 1970s, experience widespread industrial action, even including the legal sector, and watch inflation hit double figures? And that No 10 Downing Street would be home to three different prime ministers (so far...)

It is hard to truly appreciate the extent and pace of change until we reflect back: reviewing just these past few months brings home how much things have changed and the resulting impact on our day-to-day personal and business lives. Paradoxically, it seems that wholly unexpected change is the one thing that is predictable these days.

Where we used to consider ourselves ahead of the curve if we embraced change management, a gradual process tackled through reflection and planning, now we find ourselves running faster than ever, as we try to keep up.

Dealing with a constantly changing environment has been high on our network’s leadership development agenda for some years. Digital transformation, market deregulation, and changing consumer expectations, were just some of the headlines that demanded our attention, before the pandemic gave new meaning to the pace and force of change.

To address those challenges, we focused on equipping our member firms to stay in front, to feel confident about making decisions without knowing all the facts, and to bring their teams along with them. When faced with the dramatic change occasioned by the pandemic, we recognised we needed even more: we launched an online leadership forum to provide a new space for conversation, debate, advice and reassurance, with managing partners and CEOs sharing and learning from each other, day by day, week by week, both online and offline.

With the emergency phase of the pandemic behind us, and the opportunity for face-to-face meetings restored, the obvious focus for this year’s annual LawNet conference was to invite world-class speakers to show us innovative ways of handling a fast-paced future and help our member firms tackle the unknown.

So, as we face yet more economic and political turmoil and change, all of which will directly impact our businesses in the months ahead, what can we learn from the experts: how should we drive leadership in this complex world?

Hearing from the commentators, futurists and academics at our conference, the message was clear. Be open to change, prepared to embrace and run with it, with a growth mindset, adaptive resilience, and the energy to lead at pace.

Watch our conference highlights reel here (approx. 4 minutes)

And if you’re wondering where the dinosaurs and dancing elephants come in, check in with the series of articles we will be publishing here over coming weeks, when we will look at three key steps outlined by our experts to break through to better business performance.

Part two: Of dinosaurs and dancing elephants 2: Be fearless and listen to new voices 

A longer version of this article was previously published in Solicitors Journal.

Photo: LawNet's chief executive Chris Marston opens the 2022 LawNet conference.

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