2022 emerging trends: how leaders are driving transformation

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Change is vital to an organization’s success. And so is sharing information. Which is exactly what more than 450 business leaders from around the country did during an interactive webinar hosted by industry experts from Vaco and MorganFranklin Consulting, a Vaco company. 

Inspired by the recently-published “Transformation Trends for 2022” research report, the poll-driven webinar, “2022 Emerging Trends: How Leaders are Driving Transformation,” built on the original report’s key findings. During the presentation, leaders were encouraged to consider new ways to accommodate shifts in hiring while gaining a better understanding of the focus areas that are most critical to successful transformation.

Watch the on-demand webinar.

The hour-long, interactive webinar was helmed by Renee Fisher, Vaco chief revenue officer; Geoff Harkness, MorganFranklin Consulting technology practice lead; Wendy Liu, Vaco technology solutions practice lead; and Tom Roland, MorganFranklin Consulting strategy and transformation practice lead.

During the presentation, the presenters explored key insight from the data and the different ways in which leaders are responding to changes in business practices. They also discussed ways companies are pivoting to accommodate external factors — like school closures, talent shortages, and market demand — and how these factors impact growth. 

For the full experience, be sure to watch the on-demand webinar, but here are a few key highlights and big takeaways.

Prioritizing strategic initiatives

Renee Fisher: In today’s fast-paced market, how are leaders addressing competitive initiatives and prioritizing them strategically?

Tom Roland: Many companies have multiple entangled, organization-wide initiatives that require  simultaneous attention. I think this is life in 2022 — when fast is not fast enough … All these efforts to increase scale tend to stretch the same core team and, I think, create or contribute to performance risks.

You have turnover concerns, stresses on the overall team, and of course, ongoing operations. You can’t slip on ongoing operations while you’re also trying to complete all these other initiatives. That impasse is an impediment to success. 

I think it’s important to acknowledge that this [organizational strain] is real. For many of us, 2022 is not exactly offering a lot of support … I think it’s just important to hold a little bit of space for the fact that there’s other competing priorities outside of the corporate initiatives that are tugging on people’s time. If we can just leave some space for that and the realities that exist today, then we’ll be able to share a little bit of perspective around what we can create to improve the effectiveness of some of these initiatives, and ultimately, support the company growth and overall corporate objectives.

Addressing the barriers to transformation success

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Renee Fisher: Can you talk a little bit about some of the things that you’re doing — and your team is doing — to help counteract [talent shortages] and help clients find their resources?

Wendy Liu: My team has strategies we can put in place to help our clients build out their teams … Helping our clients see different perspectives, helping them build the road map on ways to track talent.

Do they need to be in the office? Can we utilize part-time resources or contract resources versus all direct hire? Could we look at nearshore/offshore options as a blend and a hybrid approach in building out the teams? And do they all need to be 10-year veterans or can we mix and match more senior folks with more junior folks to be able to mentor and build?

The audience responds

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Renee Fisher: As you look at these [responses], what really stands out to you?

Geoff Harkness: There was a great deal of growth and acquisition activity last year, for sure. But I think a lot of people in different industries are finding that the valuations are so high that they are pivoting to actually building new products and services in-house. That’s one thing that it rated pretty low here, but I think we are seeing a bit more of a trend in that area. There’s the operational — I would say, almost digestion — of a lot of the acquisitions that took place previously that were deferred based on the state of growth and things of that nature that were happening. I think the focus on the operational sides of the business, and getting those things right and optimized, are really critical. [Things like] leveraging a lot of enabling technologies and integration tools as well as things that facilitate ongoing remote collaboration, which is still completely mandatory in this day and age. 

Renee Fisher: That’s a good point. Definitely, with COVID, it’s been decision fatigue. And with 2021, it’s been acquisition fatigue, especially within the private equity world. The ones that didn’t make it in time are doing exactly what you said and really looking at what they have and how are they going to drive the business from there and capitalize on potential acquisitions they did a year or two ago to make sure they’re optimizing them to the fullest capacity. 

The elements of transformation success

Renee Fisher: When we look at 46% engaged leadership, it’s critical. It’s a top-down mentality for sure. But what really stands out to you in this slide as a critical piece for us to discuss?

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Tom Roland: Engaging leadership is always, I think, a bit of a standard stock answer. But what we’re seeing more and more is that a focus on change management communication is almost equal to leadership engagement. As you think back historically on how organizations were run, it was more of a command and control mentality. Particularly, when you got into large scale implementations, there would be an inordinate amount of effort put in place to align with leadership’s vision for the implementation.

[Now], when we think about strategic initiatives and change management, I would say establishing that strategic alignment through effective communication and feedback to create a clear sense of purpose for the organization is the priority. 

Wendy Liu: Ultimately, with any change, you do have to get the buy-in of the organization. And it’s more about bringing in the right partners, sharing the vision, and clearly communicating the end goal with the rest of the organization. Start from the top down in terms of creating strategies and what’s possible. Then, it’s about being able to act on that.

To find out what more than 160 business leaders said about their top cost-reduction strategies and where they see automation and process improvement having the biggest impact, download our research report, “Transformation Trends for 2022”.

Or, grab a bowl of popcorn and join the more than 450 business leaders who contributed to our on-demand webinar, “2022 Emerging Trends: How Leaders are Driving Transformation” today!

When it comes to helping clients with growth and transformation, we’re with you all the way.

Contact us today to find the consulting and talent solutions you need to make growth happen.


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