Be a Pebble and Together we can Create an Unstoppable Ripple of Change…

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So I appreciate as business leaders you may not be used to someone telling you to be a pebble. Right up there with primary PE sessions where you had to be a seed and grow into a tree …. I think I better explain (assuming you are still here!).

I’m setting out a call to arms to other like-minded leaders to ensure something positive comes from the terrible global crisis we are experiencing. This won’t be a V shape recovery; economically, emotionally or societally. There will be permanent changes; some of which CAN be for good if we make it so. But we are also faced with the very real prospect of second or further waves and spikes of COVID-19, a lasting global depression, no deal Brexit and decades of significant debt repayments. Some parts of our society and business sectors are to be permanently scared (including many individuals too). Whilst we need to be optimistic and take control where we can we cannot assume this has passed yet or indeed will. It bothers me enormously when I hear some leaders talking about getting back to normal.

As leaders we will need to hold ourselves to account. Our grand intentions and fine words will be simply that alone if we don’t … it will be all so easy to drift back into the easier well worn track than forge a new path. This is a unique opportunity for a permanent change in our thinking AND behaviours; words AND actions

So where do the pebbles come in I hear you cry? Good point. Looking at previous crises I believe we need to avoid the usual responses. This IS unprecedented (as much as we are all tiring of that word). We have the triple whammy of a global pandemic which is far from over, unparalleled imminent global depression; especially for some sectors, and the related but equally overdue civil unrest coming to a head over injustices which now MUST be permanently addressed. Ok, so far we haven’t added a zombie attack or meteor strike but the way 2020 is shaping up I’m not sure anything would surprise me ….

History shows us the danger of our response now will be to create reviews, inquiries, committees and layer process over process in efforts to negotiate, coordinate, and neaten our response. The trap we face will be that it be come about the process, the partisan politics and individual national needs not forward motion and AGILITY…

… and that’s where the pebbles come in.

I encourage you all to be a pebble and make your own change happen, in your own way, whilst galvanising the valid existing channels and collective bodies both within and beyond the boundaries of our own organisations, rather then setting up more.  

By Sarah Walker-Smith, CEO Ampa Group and Shakespeare Marineau LLP

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