Leadership is key in tough times, PwC conference hears

The need for clear and decisive leadership to help businesses adapt to the “new normal” was emphasised as PwC Kilkenny hosted its inaugural Business Leaders Conference on Thursday afternoon at Mount Juliet.

The need for clear and decisive leadership to help businesses adapt to the “new normal” was emphasised as PwC Kilkenny hosted its inaugural Business Leaders Conference on Thursday afternoon at Mount Juliet.

Key points at the event were that resilient leadership is about having the agility to create and seize opportunities; that winning organisations will be those that can drive rapid creativity; and that one of the best tools to become more resilient is effective risk management.

“With unprecedented uncertainty and change over the last few years, there has never been a greater need for clear and decisive leadership – so that the business can seize opportunities and adapt quickly to changing circumstances,” Billy Sweetman, partner with PwC South-East Practice, told the conference.

“The early adaptors are the winners. This requires staying very close to customers and having a culture of open communications so that the right decisions can be made on time. It also requires having the right people in the right jobs with the right skills. Such leadership will ensure an organisation remains resilient, having the capacity to survive and ultimately delivering growth.”

Gavin Duffy, media and Dragon’s Den presenter, advised businesses not to waste the crisis. “There is never a bad time to set up a good business but in a recession a good idea with the right price point will always sell. This is because in a recession, if successful, people are less likely to copy the idea.”

He advised firms to “use the recession to re-engineer your business and prepare it for the 21st century.”

“One of the best tools business leaders can use to address the challenges they face – and to become more resilient – is effective risk management,” said Mr Sweetman, of PwC. “The most important areas where greater value can be derived from risk management include more accurate assessment of organisation culture, defining the organisation’s appetite for risk, reporting of risk information to the board and better management of emerging risks.”