By Julian Leybourne, Founder and CEO, ICON Training

Being able to adapt, change and be nimble has become increasingly important for any 21st century business, even those in more traditional or regulated sectors. It is vital to constantly look at new and improved ways to offer something that is relevant and beneficial for customers, in our case employers and learners, for the here and now and the future.

All organisations face industry change at some point but as a Work Based Learning (WBL) provider in the sports and leisure industry we’re well used to change on a regular and relentless basis. Our sector has seen instability and lack of clear direction for many years and has had to evolve and morph depending on political influence, funding challenges, consumer opinion and regulatory and governing body amendments. But the importance of standing firm, retaining integrity, and commitment to the beliefs that led you into business in the first place, will pay off, even if not straight away.

We’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel in our sector at the moment, as the government focus on training at work has increased and we are playing a role in raising the bar for people in the industry, encouraging them to see their jobs as longer term and lucrative options for the first time. As an industry player for 20 years, our perseverance and belief in the importance of our sector is paying off.

We’re a small player compared to some of our competitors but we continually punch above our weight and are not afraid to get involved in the industry debate. If you feel passionate about not just your business but also your sector as a whole, then make some noise and see what role you can play in bringing about change. There are so many more ways to communicate your message and thought leadership stance these days.

A committed team

Being willing to share leadership and responsibility amongst your team, whilst ensuring they understand and want to be part of the overall aims of the company, is also important for any business. We work with an extensive remote workforce and have developed Hubs and self-managed regional centres working to a consistent ethos of quality and culture based on the values of the company.

Ensuring all staff are given comprehensive and relevant induction training at the outset and ongoing internal and external CPD is vital, to ensure your team are clear on company goals as well as the personal opportunities and potential outcomes for them. Communication is key, as is celebrating your natural leaders and understanding the power of loyalty and trust.

Many of the values people talk about in business these days, focus increasingly on being committed, transparent, principled and honest. As the 21st century customer demands more knowledge and awareness of the businesses it engages with, then the pressure is increasingly on organisations to not only tell the story well, but to live by those principles.

As we all increasingly face change and have to adapt to new demands (from customers and employees) and the way in which information is communicated, then the need to be nimble, adaptive and responsive becomes ever more important.