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Wednesday 07 June, 2017

Thriving in a World of Flux by Deborah Meaden

At last weeks’ Women’s Network Event, hosted by Coca-Cola European Partners, change was the word on everybody’s lips.

The rapid evolution of the business world and shifting workplace dynamics has meant that the old rules of engagement no longer apply. Today, we are living and working in a constant state of flux, through increasing digitalisation and more decentralised ways of working, and it’s up to us, as business leaders, to identify the necessary tools required to keep abreast of the transition. In our strides towards a gender equal workplace, and indeed one where gender becomes inconsequential, an agile approach is more important than ever before.

So, how best can we navigate this shifting scene? First, we must embrace the change and welcome the opportunities of inclusivity, as opposed to feeling threatened by it. The new order of business has the capacity to transform the workplace into a more vibrant, constructive and rewarding environment for all. While this may seem daunting to many, from my experience, women are naturally equipped with the empathetic skills necessary to thrive in a world of flux, so we have clear opportunities to step up and lead, and in a myriad of ways – whether through people management or simply by the way we act as an example by positively embracing this pace of change. With this said, it is a level playing field and everybody needs to feel empowered to play their part in recognising and working towards workplace diversity and equality.

So called ‘softer skills’ are the secret weapon. Good judgement, instinct and empathetic communication will eventually become more important than hard skills. Flexible working will become the norm, and the ability to be agile - switching between roles, reading and adapting to situations in real-time and staying up to speed - will become ever more essential. We’re also going to see the emergence of new job roles that haven’t previously existed. Those who wish to gain control over their careers will possess the ability to learn quickly, train and re-skill – helping to futureproof themselves professionally, their companies and their sectors.

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