The Hybrid World Brings New Challenges for Leaders

CLAREMONT, CA—Today’s leaders realize they must make adjustments to remain successful in the new business environment, according to The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® (SAC). Opportunities are arising for those leaders who are flexible enough to adapt the changes necessary for a successful hybrid working environments.

These Daily Practices Have to Change

“Our most successful clients realize that offering hybrid working environments attracts, and more importantly, retains their top talent,” points out Lisa Anderson, president of Claremont, CA-based LMA Consulting Group, Inc. and manufacturing expert known for creating supply chain resiliency. “Leaders will need to find ways to integrate remote employees daily and design workshops at key intervals to bring the full team together.

“There is a vast shortage of leadership talent. To successfully serve customers, grow the business, and increase profitability and working capital, successful companies will focus extra attention on developing and retaining emerging leaders. Strong leaders will have the agility, flexibility, and confidence to pivot as required and thrive post pandemic,” she adds.

Hybrid Success Rests on One Key Skill

“Remote work is nothing new,” says Steven Hunt, founder of Steven Hunt & Associates and an expert on managing change in global companies. “Take the global finance industry. Trading online from anywhere in the world has been possible for years. But traders still flocked into big hubs like New York and London. The reason is human network effects. People do business with people they know, and trust.

“The City of London knew this two decades ago,” Hunt explains. “Their research pointed to five factors for London’s magnetic attraction: career and business growth prospects, fast knowledge transfer, bold innovation hubs, status, and salary. Trust underpins all five factors.”

“Whether you work face-to-face, remote, or hybrid, the old command and control leadership styles will continue to wane. Trust-based styles are on the up,” adds Hunt. “Trustful dialogue is the skill all leaders must master in a hybrid environment.”

Great Management Counts

“Every situation is different. Every team is different,” according to Kathleen McEntee, President of Kathleen McEntee and Associates, Ltd (KMA), a full-service marketing firm known for developing strategies and tactics that distinguish its clients from competitors. “Managers must master new skills to manage hybrid work environments.”

“Keeping connected to your team collectively and individually is key,” notes McEntee. “The same old weekly staff meeting will not cut it these days. People want to know that their contributions count, understand how they fit into the organization, and desire to be connected. The good news is that this provides opportunities for managers, as well as challenges. People don’t leave a company: They leave a manager. In these days of the Great Resignation, being a great manager is more important than ever.”

Embrace the Potential

Instead of bemoaning the fact that the world is likely not going back to the way it was pre-pandemic, savvy organizations embrace the potential for growth in this new environment, according to Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic firm marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates, and author of the book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters.

“Many organizations insisted their work could not possibly be done remotely—until they found they had no choice but to find a way to adapt,” she says. “Yes, there are challenges, but there are also incredible new opportunities that now present themselves. For example, workgroups can now effectively include members from multiple geographies or time zones in almost all work-related activities—from strategy to implementation.

“The key is to have open communication with your teams as to what’s planned and ask for their input and ideas on what they’d like to see improved.”

The New Challenges are the Old Challenges

“Ironically, I don’t see new challenges,” said SAC Founder Alan Weiss, PhD. “The problem is that too many leaders aren’t conquering old challenges: a workplace that provides support and recognition; serving as an exemplar of values; fostering innovation; and maximizing the customer experience. Focusing on ‘new challenges’ just ignores the fact that too many people have taken their eye off the ball because they’ve allowed themselves to be distracted and make excuses.”

About SAC

The Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC) is the premier association for independent consulting professionals who subscribe to an industry code of ethics and provide significant consulting results among their clients. Founded by Million Dollar Consulting guru Alan Weiss in 2003, SAC offers a series of in-person and online programs to help consultants share best practices and learn from industry experts and thought leaders in the business world. SAC today has members in 14 countries around the world.

For more information, go to, email, or call (909) 563-1803.