Business Eye June July 2020

Page 56


The Only Certainty Is Change How are you developing the creative ability in yourself and your team? The answer will impact the ‘New Normal.’ Cara Macklin, both an Entrepreneur and Coach, combines her hands on business experience gained from her previous role as the Director of the Award Winning Macklin Care Home Group, Malone Lodge Hotel and NI’s first, ‘Lifestyle Care Home’ with her professional coach training. In today’s world of uncertainty, the speed of change, complexities and volatility, Cara believes the ability to think creatively, act courageously and be flexible and adaptable are crucial skills. Cara runs her own business, Cara Macklin Coach, helping other entrepreneurs and businesses strengthen their creative ability, lead their teams differently and achieve powerful change.


n the last 8 weeks, we have all come to realise very quickly the world has turned upside down overnight. The one question I’m getting asked over and over again is, “what do I think will be the biggest impact of this change?” Although I’ve witnessed many new things I believe are here to stay, I think it’s fair to say, no one can predict what our ‘new normal’ in business will look like when we come out of this. One thing I genuinely do believe is that the current environment of the speed of change, uncertainty, complexities and volatility will certainly continue to be the ‘new normal’. You can picture the conversation I had with one leader who said, “Cara who would imagine we’d be glad to have Brexit back as the news headline.” We’re not even out of Brexit yet, and we’re straight into Covid-19. For the first time in business history, the upstairs in organisations are asking the downstairs for help. Leaders have told me they’re frantically learning new ways of working, asking staff to help with their zoom calls to keep in touch with their teams and clients online! The impact of Covid-19 not only impacted on a massive scale, but the speed it happened was so frightening. People were knocked side-ways to the very core of their being both personally and in business. Everyone felt so scared about the health and wellbeing of their loved ones and teams


as well as the future of their business. The first few weeks felt like an adrenaline rush, a roller coaster of emotions trying to quickly solve immediate challenges. Then leaders began worrying about the uncertain future, and what would happen to business in the long term. I’m not sure why, but recently people have been asking me a lot about the first business I started and the last business I opened and what was the most critical lesson I’d learn from these. It made me realise the importance of this lesson during the current times. I started my first business at 15 running buses to local nightclubs. Growing up in the countryside, there was a captive audience of customers wanting to socialise but couldn’t drive. Things were going great for the first few months, then disaster struck. One of the ‘best looking’ girls in my year decided to organise a bus and compete with me. Picture it; word started to spread in the locker areas at break time, whispers among the girls in my year that the boys in the year above were going on her bus. Having already paid the deposit I quickly had to figure out how to get them back. Having contacted the nightclub they said, “Cara as you’re bringing over forty people, we’d be happy to offer everyone a 20% discount.” Brilliant, now I could offer better value, but I had to influence some key people first. I gave away some free tickets to the ‘most popular’ people in my year and the year above, word spread quickly, and I was back on. Nowadays I believe you call them ‘influencers.’ I could have given up and decided to go on the other bus myself. Yet I turned it on its head and developed my ability to be creative and think differently. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs, when they’re backs against the wall, is when they come up with some of their best ideas. We’ve witnessed many examples of this during Covid-19, Gin distillery’s creating alcohol gel, manufacturers making PPE, technology company’s collaborating to develop ventilators. One of the last businesses I created was opening NI’s first Lifestyle Care Home, Milesian Manor. Businesses often ask me about creating this unique concept and how it was achieved. I had an idea that I wanted to create something very

different. I imagined a place where elderly people would want to come and live a fulfilled life. Not only would their medical needs be met, they would be socially stimulated with facilities including a pub, café, cinema, spa bathroom, hairdressers and nail bar. You would see children in the cinema on a Sunday afternoon enjoying their favourite Harry Potter film with grandparents, creating memories that would last forever. In the morning you could hear staff asking residents, would they like to go for afternoon tea in the café or watch the Quiet Man in the cinema. With a phenomenal team around me, I believe it really was a magic place. People believe being creative is some ‘magic gift’ only given to certain people. For me that’s not true, creativity is the ability to think of new ideas or better ways to do things to improve your business. I often hear people say, “I’m not creative, or the ideas always come from the owner or leaders.” I don’t agree. The ability to think creatively and lead your team differently to create new ideas and ways of working is both an art and a science. I’m so lucky in my own business now to work with many entrepreneurs and businesses helping them to think differently, be creative and achieve powerful changes in themselves and their business. The main barrier to creativity and innovation cited by leaders is, “having the

time to think properly.” When I ask the question where your best ideas come from, I hear, “out for a walk, in the bath, falling asleep.” Thomas Eddison, has proven the importance of taking quality time, being silent, slowing the mind and thinking at a different level. This is the first step in the process I use as a coach to strengthen your creative ability and lead your team differently to get new ideas and sustain your business in the future. Although we must think of the immediate impact, it’s also crucial to consider the longer term, creating new ways of doing things which will help our businesses long into the future. Coronavirus has brought so many challenges, but one of the gifts it has given is the time to think. What are you doing during this time to think differently? Our own expertise and experience create one of the biggest challenges to thinking differently. Success to date has come from years of experience doing the same great habits. But, some of these habits and expertise are exactly what will need to be changed to succeed in the ‘new norm.’

To find out more about Cara’s unique method you can contact or visit

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