Transformation: Stepping out of Comfort and Embracing New Paradigms

August 10 2023

As a leader in business and captain of a rapidly evolving agency in South Africa, I’ve found myself reflecting on the essence and nuances of transformation, especially in our current economic landscape. My beliefs and values that drive transformation in our business are based on a rich tapestry of experiences, not just from my South African roots but drawing on lessons from the global stage as well.

I had the opportunity to talk more about transformation on the PRGN Presents Podcast with my colleague Abbie Fink from HMA Public Relations.

Unpacking Transformation

The term ‘transformation’ might sound overused to some, but its depth is profound. It isn’t just about tagging on a new service or giving your brand a new logo. It encompasses a fundamental recalibration of how businesses respond to ever-shifting market dynamics. Quoting Seth Godin, it’s vital to remember: “Successful people are the ones breaking the rules.”

So, in the spirit of genuine transformation, we must dare to defy the norms and charter into the unfamiliar.

The South African context – A global lesson

South Africa, with its unique socio-political history, offers an insightful lens into understanding transformation. The country’s initiatives like Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment are emblematic of our commitment to right historical wrongs. But it’s a lesson for everyone, everywhere. Across the globe, countries grapple with disparities – be it gender, education, or wealth. Transformation, therefore, is not just a national prerogative; it’s a global mandate. It’s a call to relentlessly expose and bridge these oppressive inequalities, and divides, whatever form they may take.

People at the Epicentre

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that a business thrives when its people thrive. The opposite of that is the repercussions we see stemming from toxic business cultures: stifled creativity, halted innovation, and quiet exits. Our focus should be to ensure that our teams don’t just understand the ‘what’ of transformation but resonate deeply with the ‘why’. It’s about cultivating spaces where every member feels valued, heard, and pivotal to the transformative journey.

Charting through resistance

Change, although inevitable, is seldom easy. We all have our comfort zones, and nudging out of them is always a challenge. At Alkemi Collective, our approach has been one of relentless engagement. It’s essential to ensure that no one feels sidelined. Our collective vision enshrines continuous education, transparency, and giving each team member a sense of ownership in this transformational journey.

An evolving landscape

The world has pivoted, more so in the last few years than perhaps in decades. The pandemic; the rapid evolution of digital tech; and various global socio-political events are reshaping consumer behaviour, giving us pause to rethink and redraw our core business blueprints. With the digital revolution in full swing, traditional media is receding into the background. It’s a wake-up call for larger agencies, but with Africa’s booming economic growth, it’s also an open field of opportunities for nimble, adaptable collectives like us who are working to gain traction in this fertile market.

Transformation isn’t about chasing a trend; it’s about laying the foundation for a sustainable, inclusive, and innovative future. Want to learn more about transformation? Listen to the engaging conversation on the PRGN Presents podcast, which dives deeper into the topic.

As we continue this journey, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not just about evolving businesses, but about evolving ourselves, our perspectives, and our mindsets.

If you enjoyed this episode, please follow the PRGN Presents podcast in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or any other podcast app. We publish new episodes every other Thursday. To have them delivered automatically and free of charge, just choose your preferred podcast player from this list, open the app, and click the button to “Follow” or “Subscribe” to the show: https://prgnpodcast.com/listen

Bradly Howland
CEO, Alkemi Collective
Bradly Howland has over 19 years working in the media and marketing environment, he has a strong understanding of the importance of an integrated approach to strategic communications , marketing and reputation management for brands. Bradly previously worked at Alkemi Collective predecessor HWB Communications as an Account Director and Client Services Director before heading off to oversee the communications for one of the country’s hyper-scaling fintechs, Ozow.
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