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David Masson is Canada country manager for Darktrace.

The modern business landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate. New innovations can reshape entire industries, markets rise and fall as consumers evolve and grow, and organizations can pivot business models at the drop of a hat. The corporate playing field is in constant flux. As a business leader, it can be challenging to weather the storm through times of change while maintaining a brave face. Organic shifts in the market are hard enough to navigate, but changes driven by law bring an even greater complexity.

In Canada, the impending enactment of The Digital Privacy Act (DPA/Bill S-4) will make several important amendments to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The new requirements call for businesses to disclose any data breaches to the Privacy Commissioner or face the prospect of a hefty fine. Businesses need to adapt to this new legislation by using machine learning and AI solutions to better protect their networks, get ahead of the implementation date and stay within the confines of these new regulations.

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The Digital Privacy Act is just one among many government-enforced changes on the horizon. Moving forward, how can we lead businesses through such rapid paradigm shifts?

Embrace change

While it can be daunting to undertake new ways of operating, it's often for the better. In particular, legislative changes usually come into effect for good reasons. They protect the safety of not just customers and businesses, but all Canadians.

Instead of resisting changes to the status quo, businesses can save both time and money by working in step with new laws and regulations. With the DPA, for instance, non-compliance will result in fees and penalties. Instead of fighting these changes, business should change their workflows and update their processes as needed. These changes may be just the catalyst they need to transform stale operating procedures and usher in new, innovative thinking. The more you stay on top of the evolving business landscape, the better your company will be at navigating periods of turbulence.

Educate your employees

Employees play the most important role in any organizational change; they're the ones who will be implementing new rules on a day-to-day basis. One of the first steps a business should take during change is to ensure their employees have all the necessary resources and information. They need to know how the new rules impact their work and what they need to do to make the change successful. Clear communication and educational sessions can equip your employees for impending legislation, answer any questions, and even bring people together as a team.

Find the right partners

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It can be challenging for leaders to understand all the nuances of how legislative changes will impact their business. It's imperative that leaders arm themselves with the right support from partners outside their organization. Legal counsel is the natural first step when seeking support, but you can also look for other experts. Market and industry analysts, new technology partners and communication professionals can help ease the transition. The right partners can help you find the best solutions and communicate changes in the clearest way possible, both inside and outside your organization.

Don't wait for change

Businesses need to act quickly when legislative changes are announced, not when they take effect. Companies could face fines, lawsuits, or even closure if they are found to be non-compliant. Getting new procedures or systems in place well in advance helps ensure that organizations can finesse any delays, educate employees and train personnel on new roles and responsibilities. This promotes confidence in the new way of doing things, and most importantly, it guarantees businesses will not be caught on their heels when new legislation comes into effect.

Businesses can't get around the law. They need to comply and find opportunities to create competitive advantage. It's up to business leaders to guide organizations through these changes, find the right partners, and prepare their company to succeed.

Executives and human-resources experts share their views in the ongoing Leadership Lab series. Find more stories here and follow us @Globe_Careers.

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