Liber – meaning ‘free’ in Latin. As a word it offers an interesting paradox for these times when we need the freedom to pivot in different directions as the world around us changes unrecognisably, but equally we are constrained by the likes of lockdown rules that we have never seen before. In the context of this programme it was identified as ‘Free to Feel in charge, to reframe and shape your future’.
The University of Oxford’s Liber Project has been running for the past few months, supporting Oxford businesses through this period of great uncertainty, with the vision of helping us navigate this period of change. It’s been a privilege to have been selected to be part of this group during this time.
As a business we’re used to looking at problems from all angles, we do it day in, day out. Having the opportunity to meet with groups of like-minded entrepreneurs to really consider how we can all best adapt to such constant change gave us much needed times of pause during this time.
As leaders many of us were so consumed with the immediate and urgent challenges, that finding time to engage with the bigger issues hasn’t always made it to the top of our ‘to do’ lists. The Liber Project helped us carve out that vital time to meet within a supportive group and prioritise the bigger picture.
We’ve benefitted from some hugely interesting learning sessions, hosted by Business Leaders and Academics, many of whom have had their own challenges to adapt to over the years, and all who have had valuable thoughts and insights to contribute to this continually evolving conversation.
On the ground we’ve also had the support from MBA interns and the University with some of the projects we’re working on currently, helping us hone, adapt and modify. This has been hugely valuable to help drive our business forward so that we continue to grow and strengthen during this period.
As we approach the end of this programme and as we start to move out of lockdown, we’ve been given a fresh perspective on how we work and how we can make the most of all of the learnings we have experienced over the past few months.
The quote much attributed to Darwin holds truer for business than ever -
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, it is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
As a business we’ve been lucky to continue to experience steady growth through this period, but we don’t take this for granted. We’ve been working out how we can bring our team back safely into the office to work collaboratively on projects, and understand where we can add value as a business in ever changing times.
This programme has helped us shape our decision making as we’ve made changes during this time – moving offices into a bigger space where more collaboration is possible, streamlining our services so that we are focusing very much on the areas where we offer the best value, and also moving forwards on new business projects that we simply wouldn’t have had the bandwidth to proceed with.
So, are we feeling ‘free to be in charge, to reframe and shape our future’? Yes, absolutely. We're excited about what the future holds. And we’re very grateful to have been part of such a thought-provoking programme that provided intellectual debate within this supportive network during a period of monumental change.