A toast to resilience as we look back on our impact during 2021

08 December 2021

Often during extraordinary times, marked by interruption and pervasive change, organisations are awarded an opportunity to be part of the solution alongside their clients and stakeholders. ‘The solution’ can take on many forms and requires organisations to take accountability for navigating and embracing change. When this happens, people are set up to thrive and demonstrate resilience during adversity.

The overarching theme woven through 2021 is one of resilience. Displaying resilience every day is underpinned by forward-thinking and creative problem-solving. As a result of adapting to change internally first, we were able to lead our clients through data privacy obligations, the rise of a hybrid way of working and digital-first preparedness. 

So let’s look at what we’re celebrating

1. POPIA preparation paid off

The much-publicised Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) came into legislative effect on 1 July 2021. Alongside our legal expert affiliation, ENSafrica, we facilitated tailormade solutions that practically supported our clients with their data privacy obligations whether they were large multinational organisations or small businesses.

It became clear that complying with data privacy legislation is not a tick-box exercise, but rather an ongoing journey where a concerted effort around awareness and training is everything! With this commitment in mind, we launched a by-invitation-only POPIA Green House Factors webinar series. Each webinar covered relevant themes and topics enriched by the knowledge of specialist panellists – all experts in their field.

2. Success and adversity are married by resilience

The mid-year widespread national riots and looting presented yet another significant business interruption event. However, the aftermath afforded us the opportunity to support our clients to craft deeper risk response strategies, and stress test these measures with the objective of proactively planning for future risk events.

We believe that it is highly possible to flourish during adversity. These events once again reminded us of our purpose: Kriel & Co exists to facilitate ways in which organisations can navigate change and thrive in an ever-changing, often uncertain organisational climate.

3. Teamwork makes the dream work

Clichéd, but true. In the past year the size of our team and practice has effectively doubled. We have invested in hiring expert skills and talent that have become integral as we facilitate meaningful change journeys.

We refined our digital-first approach to work, sharpened our data privacy awareness and expanded the way we support clients in navigating change in their business. Our aim as a practice remained to model change internally first. This allowed us the confidence to ‘pay it forward’, while tailoring change to suit the individual needs of clients. 

We place a strong emphasis on our team’s holistic wellbeing and encourage them to build meaningful careers. As our talent expanded, and in keeping with global trends, we adopted a hybrid work approach with collaboration office spaces in Cape Town and Johannesburg. 

What we’ve learned

1. Being a pro-change organisation is no longer a ‘nice to have’

We’ve established on all fronts that no organisation is exempt from change, no matter their size. However, organisations can choose whether to let change happen to them or to proactively anticipate the change and retain a level of control. Our clients have done just that. 

Fortunately, awareness affords the opportunity to cultivate a pro-change culture and leadership, which in turn sets these organisations up to thrive in the midst of infinite change.

2. The importance of knowing your ‘why’

Purpose, culture and value alignment were further put to the ultimate test in 2021. What do we mean by this? Significant events that disrupt, like the ones that characterise the world of work today, hold up a mirror to organisations. 

An organisation’s ‘why’ along with its foundational values and pro-change culture, reflect back a clear reminder of the organisation’s reason for existence. We are fans of firmly keeping your ‘why’ in the rear-view mirror to weather proverbial storms in a pervasive business landscape.

3. Become comfortable with discomfort

Although most of what our practice does concerns proactively planning for risk events, stress testing response plans or pre-empting any financial impact of a risk event, we also uncovered the traits that allow organisations to capitalise on resilience and ultimately thrive.

One such trait that executives and leaders have needed to tap into, is the ability to navigate a constant feeling of discomfort. Organisations whose leaders are able to become comfortable with discomfort and the unknown are better able to lead their teams through the consistent effort required to build resilience.

What we’re taking into 2022

1. Work is still changing

Work is a thing you do, not a place you go to. As a team we look forward to engraining ourselves into a hybrid way of working even more and assist our clients to do so with a specially developed hybrid work toolkit.

2. Leadership is still changing

Apart from organisational leadership resilience, leaders would also need to become more attuned to leading diverse, hybrid working teams in a way that is inclusive and respectful. An organisational culture where diversity and inclusion is valued, requiring the effective modelling of change, leverages different perspectives to create an unrivalled competitive advantage.

3. We continuously plan for change

In the year ahead we believe that the spectrum of cybersecurity risk events and the ever-evolving data privacy landscape will continue to be a leading source of change within many organisations. Proactive preparation, internal privacy-first behaviour and frequent stress testing of policies and systems remain some of the most effective and timeous ways in which to respond.

We also look forward to exploring purposeful affiliations with talented organisations and individuals – all to further enable internal scaling and deeper levels of change.

If the year has shown us anything, it is that change is more perpetual, pervasive and exponential than ever. But that is a good thing if your organisation is prepared for it. Our journey can be summed up in one theme – that change is three dimensional, for our clients, affiliates and our practice. 

Here’s to celebrating a resilient 2021, and a rewarding 2022!