Author: Georgina Barrick
As the year draws to a close, I'm reflecting on what I've shared with you this year and looking ahead to what 2018 may have in store for South Africa and my own business space.
2017 has been an interesting year for Team South Africa, on many levels.
We've had a bumpy ride leading up to the 54th ANC National Conference, weathering ratings downgrades, GuptaLeaks, the recall of Pravin Gordhan and Steinhoff.
Like many of you, I'd welcome a bit of a respite from 'interesting' at this point.
We now know that we have a new President. Everyone is peddling hope and weighing in on his suitability and the enormity of the task facing him.
However, it's likely that 2018 won't offer much-needed respite.
Despite the market's early positive reaction to the announcement, I think it's going to be a tough year economically as we have a big hole to crawl out of. Also, it's going to take time for the new ANC leadership team to make a meaningful impact on the mess that we're in.
What strikes me, though, is that this is not the first time we've had to grapple with economic hardship and political uncertainty. We've been here before – and many of us have survived and have the battle scars to prove it. As individuals, we're not in this alone. We're all in the same boat, facing a potentially difficult year and grappling with how best to position our businesses so that we can continue to achieve high performance and success.
To borrow a line from Oprah, what I know for sure is that our success – or failure – is going to hinge on our resilience and approach to the challenges that we face.
As leaders, we can either choose to focus on the negative – like the uncertainty of the political situation or the economy – or we can understand that tough times often bring out the best in us and start looking for better, smarter ways to operate.
South Africans are well-known for being hardworking, resilient, positive and innovative.
And, it's in tough times that we're really forced into truly innovative and creative spaces – because we have to be.
In a nutshell, I believe that the difference between being good or great in 2018 is going to be all about our attitude to challenge – our mindset and the activities that we drive.
Lately, I've spent time looking into the key trends that are likely to define 2018, while relooking at what I've shared with you this year. This process has highlighted two pivotal areas that I'll be focusing on to keep my own mindset geared towards innovation and creativity in 2018.
The right technology is an essential tool for business success.
In a recent piece, I explored how AI and machine learning are transforming our daily lives, becoming a key driver of revenue growth and profoundly impacting the world of work.
In my business space, technology is freeing my team from more admin-focused tasks, giving us more time to focus on the human element, building deeper relationships with our job seekers and clients.
It's also driving a move to flex, where staff do their jobs anywhere and at any time, enabled by technology. (You can read more about this trend here - http://bit.ly/2z7YMs3).
Finding innovative ways to use technology to find, connect and engage will be key in 2018.
Employee experience has always been important to me and will continue to be a key focus in 2018.
This is especially true in tougher times, when your core team is likely to be asked to handle increasing more responsibility.
I've always believed that if you've taken valuable time to find the right talent – what we call SMART (Specialist, Mobile, Adaptable, Resilient Talent), you need to spend as much time nurturing and developing that talent as you do on your customers – particularly if that talent is from a specialist pressure point.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have a break at the end of this year – use it to reconnect with loved ones and, most importantly, yourself.
Plan well for the year ahead, focusing on what you want to achieve, both personally and professionally. Commit your plans to paper – perhaps even create a vision board if you're a visual person. This will keep you centred and on track with your goals. It'll also stop you falling into old habits that may derail you along the way.
Having a plan (which may be iterative and can evolve along the way) is an important part of creating a sense of security and wellbeing.
Consider reviewing your clutter – like the desk full of paper that you never look at or the cupboard full of clothes that you never wear. Entering the New Year free of clutter will make space for new opportunities in your life.
Starting 2018 understanding what you stand for and with a connection to your innate consciousness will help you to navigate turbulent times
I'd like to leave you with 15 lessons from Madiba that are as relevant in 2018 as they have always been:
Courage is not the absence of fear.
Lead from the front.
Look the part.
Lead from the back.
See the good in others.
Keep your rivals close.
Have a core principle.
Know when to say no.
Know your enemy.
It's always both.
Love makes the difference.
It's a long game.
Quitting is leading too.
Find your own garden.
May 2018 be the year you shine.
Written by Georgina Barrick, MD of Cassel&Co and Insource.ICT/ IT Edge, all divisions of ADvTECH Resourcing (Pty) Ltd. Georgina has over 20 years of recruitment and executive search experience. Connect with her on LinkedIn: Georgina Barrick.