There is no denying that we continue to find ourselves in unchartered waters and with uncertainty remaining amplified across all echelons of society it is inevitable that many establishments will still be deliberating how best to move forward.
Uncertainty can have a multitude of effects on our emotions both inside and outside the workplace but perhaps most notably it can lead to lower levels of creativity and ultimately have a detrimental impact on our capacity to find alternative ways to achieve results. This is a challenge for leadership teams as their ability to think creatively and to generate newfound solutions will be essential for innovation in the coming weeks and months.
Whilst many organisations may have had the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality, current events will now be compelling all industries and sectors to reassess their practices and approaches. Covid 19 has, in effect, challenged us all to become ‘disruptors’ and provided us with the backdrop to question what came before. Regardless of how well-equipped establishments were to deal with this new landscape, short or long-term changes will be required, or will certainly need to be accelerated, to achieve a competitive advantage.
Agility will be key for all organisations and how they can project stability whilst not losing sight of the need to remain flexible with the ability to adapt to a more ambiguous world. Central to this flexibility will be the willingness of leaders and boards to assess their qualities whilst also recognising the gaps in their own expertise and acknowledging any areas in which they might benefit from bringing in outside assistance.
Looking specifically at independent schools, whilst it would be foolish to suggest the fundamentals of education will change, in a broader context it is crucial that individual school’s leadership and governance teams are well represented when it comes to the critical themes of innovation, technology, collaboration and community. Recent initiatives by Eton College and the Perse School, amongst others, have proven that there has never been a better time to explore synergies across sectors or indeed to bring in external expertise to inject fresh thoughts and ideas.
Whether it is achieved on a temporary, consultative basis or through a sustained permanent strategy, engaging the right mix of people with a diversity of voices, skill sets and experiences across governing bodies and management teams will be vital for the path ahead.
Whatever the lasting impact of Covid-19 might be to our economy and society, in the mid to long term it will undoubtedly be those organisations who not only focus on what they do best but are also brave enough to challenge themselves and ask the bold questions who will navigate their way through this crisis and transition the most effectively.
About Melanie Pye
Our independent education practice is headed up by Melanie Pye. She has a strong understanding of the nuances of the sector, which has proven invaluable when assessing cultural fit with professionals joining from outside education.
Please do contact her for an informal/confidential discussion if you are looking to change roles or alternatively if you are seeking to make an appointment within your school.