Enabling leadership in the virtual environment

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The disruption to society and businesses seen this year has strengthened the need for quality, systemic leadership and communities of leaders. That need is enhanced by the additional challenge of how to lead and create communities of leaders in the virtual environment; a challenge very familiar to the Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE).

Before the rise of COVID-19, earlier this year, the world expected organisations to be transforming, and continually transforming faster – the world was changing at an ever-increasing pace. Organisations needed to be pro-active and adaptive to keep pace.

COVID-19 has demonstrated that organisations that are adaptive, i.e. have the ability and agility to transform and scale fast, have performed well. For case studies we only need to reach here for the giant online delivery organisations and our local neighbourhood cafes (now reimagined as delis and takeaway joints). As a result of the pandemic, many organisations have had to pivot their processes and business models in order to deliver service and remain relevant. Many more will have to transform at pace to return to scale: reorganising supply chains, re-shaping their services and creating new strategies to win in the tail end of lockdown and through to the next normal.

In order to be adaptive, organisations will need communities of leaders who can think, act and operate systemically. Leaders who can absorb information and signals from within and outside of their organisation. Leaders who can spot the interconnectivity between their organisation, its actions, other organisations, innovation and wider trends in society. Leaders who can operate in the practical here and now whilst shaping the future. Leaders who bring clarity of vision, bring that vision to life, are relentless in its pursuit and build a coalition of leaders to deliver it.

The disruption the pandemic has brought to society, and businesses, has strengthened the need for quality, systemic leadership and communities of leaders. That need is spiked with the additional challenge of how to lead and create communities of leaders in the virtual environment.

Over the past four months, I have worked with colleagues from across Capgemini’s UK Accelerated Solutions Environment to enable leaders to think systemically and create conditions for their organisations to perform and drive adaption. Like many other organisations we have had to deliver our service virtually.

Whilst initially the shift to a digital platform and method of delivery (and away from our engaging, flexible physical event space) seemed daunting, we have remained focused and discovered that our principles of working remain consistent. The design principles, methodologies and models are the same; we have just adapted the way we apply them in some circumstances. The fundamentals of our approach with clients continue as before. We are still enabling leaders to imagine, shape and adapt their organisations to the new and next normal, helping navigate the uncertain waters of the pandemic. However, we have found certain aspects of our work have become more important and their impacts amplified in the virtual environment.

We have found the need to create ‘a moment’ within a community of leaders, creating a deeper human connection has been crucial to the success of virtual working. Whether its sharing pressures inside and outside of work, or inviting colleagues into the makeshift workspaces, it has been an important part of building trust and strengthening virtual communities.

As many organisations continue with remote working, the need for leadership presence and for clear, concise compelling communication has never been more important. In the virtual environment where it can be easy to hide, and easy to multitask, every word, every phrase needs to drive engagement. It’s easy to lose an audience online, it’s also easy to miscommunicate when it’s difficult to read the mood of your audience, as they are no longer right in front of you. Leaders need to be given the platform they need to step up and to reach into their community’s temporary workspaces and kitchens with clarity and purpose.

As the world is shaped and reshaped around us, the need to be abreast of the latest trends can’t be overstated. We’re working with leaders to bring them the latest thinking and shaping compelling conversations to explore and exploit the information. We’re designing sessions that enable leaders to move rapidly from digesting the latest thought leadership to designing the future, defining where they need to focus or where they drive change. We focus on creating the conditions where communities of leaders can drive clarity and accountability for their future organisation, so they can take their organisations forward at the pace they need to.

We are proud of how we have continued to enable leaders to focus on adapting their businesses in these uncertain times. We believe it is more important than ever.

How are you and your leadership leading your organisation’s transformation and adaptation? It would be great to hear your thoughts or to discuss what we can do to enable your organisation’s transformation or shape how it continues to adapt.

Get in touch here.



Tom Shortland

ASE Facilitator

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