Despite the COVID pandemic and many businesses concerned about their future, the lockdown has given the UK's workforce the opportunity to take stock and plan their working life in a new economy.
This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week and to mark it, The Future Strategy Club can unveil new research across 2,076 Brits which states that 34% of Brits say the COVID pandemic has encouraged them to look towards consultancy and freelance work or start their own business. Because of this sentiment to go it alone, the Future Strategy Club has collated the thoughts of some the UK's leading business thinkers on the advice they would give to their younger self when starting out. Justin Small, Founder of the Future Strategy Club: "Start your own company as soon as you can - because the amount of learning that comes from doing so is exponentially greater than any job in any company. Permanent jobs give you security, beer money, and the ability to get a mortgage. Freelancing and running your own company gives you growth and purpose leading to the freedom of self-reliance. This freedom is ultimately the only security you can rely on in the end."
Hema Bakhshi, Former Director of The Future of Work at Santander: "Always focus on your own lane. Don’t try too hard to fit in; it is okay to not speak, walk, talk and dress like everyone else. If you can get close to your superpower and focus on what you do, you will succeed. No one else has your experience nor your perspective. Blaze your own trail. You’re unique."
Laurence Shorter, Executive coach, facilitator and author of The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life: "I would tell myself: “You’re going to get there in the end, be more relaxed.” I think it is better to be relaxed. I have spent my life telling myself that as soon as you complete a certain task, as soon as you’ve written that Hollywood movie, then you will be relaxed – but inevitably, you never are because you then move onto the next project. Just chill out and things will happen easier and faster."
Gurtej Sandhu, Former Digital Director at the Times: "Be brave and have more confidence to tell your own story. People worry about fitting in and make decisions based on that. At the time, it feels like the right thing to do - especially during the early stages of a career. People shouldn’t worry about this as much as they do. As an ethnic minority, it automatically made me ‘different’. I wish I had embraced that earlier. I would also tell myself to walk away from projects I didn’t enjoy so much and head towards more interesting work. It is so easy to stay put and think situations will get better, but you should do things because you enjoy them, learn from them or find them interesting; not because you think it is what you should do."
Gareth Tennant, Former Head of Intelligence at the Royal Marines: "It took me a long time to realise in my career that the people who are in positions of authority have a great amount of value in terms of their experience, but that they are not necessarily the most intelligent people in the room; or even that they’re right in any given situation. From personal experience, being in charge is not so much about being decisive and right all the time, but more about possessing the ability to pull teams together and yield the best results. On a similar note, it is important for leaders to know that they do not always have to be correct. That is something I wish I had realised earlier, both as a leader and as a follower."
Karl Weaver, former CEO of Data Practice UK at Publicis Groupe: "Be braver. That’s it really. There’re a lot of things you can find yourself accepting during your career, but if you’re brave enough you can make things happen. Looking back, I have had periods where I’ve been brave, particularly where I have followed a path that I think I will really enjoy. But deciding to do something that feels right, but does not look logical, can be hard to get your head around."