Stepping out with confidence
FESPA's CEO, Neil Felton speaks to printers from around the world about the challenges their businesses have faced due to COVID-19 and the lessons they have learned as well as demonstrating strong resilience.
I’ve recently been interviewing a group of leading printers from around the world for a FESPA video series , and what strikes me about all of them is their confidence. While they openly recount the challenges they’ve faced in their businesses over the last 18 months, they quickly turn to the positives, the lessons they’ve learned, the spirit of resilience they’ve seen in their teams.
They don’t dwell on the past or focus too much on what happened before COVID. They’re looking to the horizon and they’re moving ahead – with a few bruises perhaps, but with a renewed sense of purpose and a drive to make their business succeed in a changed landscape.
It made me think of a quote I read from Rosabeth Moss Kanter, director of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative. She said: “Confidence isn’t optimism or pessimism, and it’s not a character attribute. It’s the expectation of a positive outcome.”
Confidence has certainly been a casualty of COVID. As individuals we might hesitate to do simple things that two years ago we took for granted. In business, we may not be able to plan with the same certainly as we did in 2019. The dynamic situation means we have to make some commercial decisions without all the data, based on our best instincts and the insights we still have into what our customers need from us.
For many businesses, this prolonged period of recovery and restoration can feel a little like emerging from hibernation. Some are wired and sleep-deprived, exhausted by the effort to survive. Some are raring to go, alert and on the lookout for the next opportunity. Some have used the time to reflect and rethink, preparing themselves mentally for what lies outside.
But, ultimately, every business leader must keep their eyes on the road ahead. Standing still is not an option. Change is constant, innovation is essential. Customer needs are evolving every day. We must stay alert, anticipating, listening, responding, investing. We need to keep lines of communication open, with our customers, partners and suppliers, and tune our radar into what’s happening in the wider industry we’re part of. Trends can undermine us if we’re caught napping and lose competitive advantage.
FESPA Global Print Expo 2021 is just around the corner, the first international reunion of our speciality print community since 2019. As organisers, we’ve done everything humanly possible to make this a COVID-secure environment to do business in. So, let’s take that step ‘outside’ – isn’t it time to reconnect, regroup, recharge and ‘expect the positive outcome’?
I look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam. You can register here and use promo code FESH101 to receive a discount of 30 euros.
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