"Preparing for Autumn" (Jersey Evening Post - 26 August 2020)

By Lisa Springate, Chair, IoD Jersey

Next week is September and the shift into autumn. For many businesses it’s usually a time to re-group after summer holidays have disrupted working patterns or, if you’re in the tourism industry, a time to breath and take stock. This year things are different. We have some certainties ahead: not least the impending worst recession on record, but equally, more uncertainty with a potential resurgence of Covid-19 and its resulting impact on trade. However, there are also plenty of positives to be found and acted upon and now is a good time to look to nature and one of our autumnal favourites, the red squirrel, for inspiration. Contrary to the commonly held misconception, squirrels do not hibernate and hide from harsh conditions, what they do is prepare for change and difficult times by storing acorns and other food and then adapting to the conditions they encounter. Preparation, renewal and agile response. These are three characteristics not just of squirrels, but of any successful business and economy.

Collaborating for Island Success

It is exactly what we have been helping bring about with the Economic Council, an industry-wide and community council under the leadership of Senator Lyndon Farnham, the Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Economic Development. Since May, together with colleagues from across the industries and other business organisations, we have been discussing ways that Jersey can not only recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic, but become a stronger and more diverse economy as a result. We have a solid backbone industry in finance, excellent connectivity and a legacy of innovation and blue sky thinking. We must harness all of these, plus our innate agility, to forge a place in the global economy.

The results of the Council are being drafted into a recommendation paper which will be presented to the Political Oversight Group and help inform and contribute to the redrafting of the Government Plan and measures aimed at boosting economic activity.

Modernising IoD Jersey

In my role with IoD Jersey, I’ve not just been working towards renewal with the Economic Council, but also with the IoD itself to make us fit for today’s business environment. We have revamped our committees, increasing the number to ten so that we are reflecting and representing all of Jersey’s businesses and community. We created a new Industry sub-committee to embrace the wide variety of sectors in the Island, as well as a sub-committee to support members with Diversity & Inclusion and another to ensure the environment is at the heart of businesses and our Island. There is a Student sub-committee to meet the needs of our future leaders, and a Technology sub-committee which puts digital learning at the heart of everything we do. Our standards and values are upheld with the help of the Corporate Governance sub-committee, and members are looked after by the Membership sub-committee as well as the Professional Development sub-committee, which also supports non-members with training. Finally we have Events and PR sub-committees to inform, encourage debate and facilitate networking.

To ensure our members are able to easily access information and resources, we relaunched our website and newsletter with a fresh modern feel fit for today. Our members have responded as a result, we’ve grown by 15% to 20% as the message gets out that the IoD is an open and diverse organisation, that we are not just for Directors, but for all those who aspire and want to learn to lead, from students to senior staff. We have also seen a rise in interest for the range of courses we offer. Now is definitely a good time to invest in yourself and your career.

Events to Inform

Our usual full programme of events had to be curtailed for obvious reasons, but we are still planning some stimulating talks and workshops for the autumn. In October we are looking at the challenges facing decision makers this year as our Innovation series continues with, ‘I used to be decisive… but now I’m not so sure.’ The session will look at how businesses mitigate against having to make rapid decisions in very volatile situations, with the use of some good, and bad, examples. In November, we have the Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré and the Chief Executive, Charlie Parker, answering your questions at our lunch on the 23rd at the Royal Yacht Hotel. Finally we hope to celebrate the achievements of our Director of the Year award winners at a drinks reception on December 3rd. More information about all of these can be found on our website.

Looking to the Future

It has been an unprecedented year so far, but a productive one for us. I have a fantastic team of professionals who are volunteering their time and experience to share with anyone who believes that good leadership and opportunities for all are at the heart of business success. It is the people of our Island who will take Jersey forward, not the rock and earth on which we live, and I am convinced that working together we can ensure a vibrant and diversified economy rises out of the current difficulties.

We would like to convey our sincere thanks to the team at the JEP for their support in allowing us to share a series of articles in the past few months, which have highlighted our progress and shared news and resources for businesses. This is the last of our features here, but you can sign up to our newsletters to keep on receiving updates and interviews. We also want to continue hearing from you, whether it’s feedback about the IoD, or how we can help Jersey businesses recover and succeed in these difficult times.

I am feeling positive and energised by the enthusiasm, ideas and hard work I’ve seen going into ensuring that Jersey plc has a bright and successful future ahead. The acorns each one of us gathers and cultivates now, will one day be the oak trees that feed and shelter us all.

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