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Part Two: Is Your Business Ready For 2020?

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2019 is well on its way, and it won’t be long before we welcome a decade of change within the world economy. This year, therefore, is a critical year for business. Consumer aspirations, attitudes and behaviors are expected to change drastically, and any company that ignores these trends will be letting the competition rise to the top.

In my last post, we looked at how harnessing emerging technologies and building digital capabilities can take a business to a new level of efficiency and control. Due to simple tools (such as wearables and analytics) and more sophisticated investments (such as blockchain and drones), technology will be one of the leading factors of growth for businesses looking to achieve market-leading performance. However, to successfully adapt these technologies and move forward, you must have the correct strategy and team set in place.

In this article, we’ll look at the second fundamental question that every leader needs to have answered this year for their business strategy to be successful in 2020. If done well, answering this question will help you to improve your company’s framework and leadership potential.

Question 2: Is Your Team Based on Past Needs or The Strategy Moving Forward?

This question is designed to help you assess your staff and identify which individuals are committed to the future strategy of your organization. Moreover, it will help you to review current operations and to lift current employees out of an expired operating strategy and into an innovative future.
More often than none, I see businesses using resources to meet the needs of an expired strategy rather than a new or current one. Urgency and flexibility play a big part in the evolution of the operating landscape within a business. Therefore, equipping your business with the right talent and business functions to deliver future strategy is crucial. Let’s explore how you can achieve this within your company.

Your Role and The Modern Employee

  • Critical Skills

Skillsets in the workplace are changing rapidly in response to new technologies with leaders focusing on new agile methods to fully utilize the benefits of AI, robotics, and other industry advancements.
As Crimson Education states, “Future jobs will involve knowledge, creation and innovation. Machines will be freeing you up to explore, experiment and find interesting solutions to complex problems, like pollution.
For employees to succeed in this new environment, they must be able to work in conjunction with these technologies and respond well to uncertainty. Only then will their work benefit a business.

  • The Middle Man

It is critical for leaders to focus on the communication and collaboration between departments if they want this agile method of working to be a success.
According to McKinsey & Company, you should, “consider how to create the conditions in which an ecosystem can be largely self-managing, where individuals and tools can learn, and problems can be avoided before they manifest.”

By 2020, you need to ensure that communications flow between all levels of the business and work towards a reality in which every team is working towards the same universal goals. In most cases, this means cutting out the middle man, providing the right platforms for communication and re-evaluating business processes.

  • High-Functioning Managers

High-functioning managers are a great asset to any business and will be able to help you make the necessary changes needed to propel your business forward. But what does a high-functioning manager look like?

It is important to remember that leadership can come from anyone, not just from the traditional positions of formal authority. Effective leaders will be able to quickly adapt to changes in strategy and will ensure that their team can do the same. These individuals will also have a strong emphasis on personal development and will be able to think outside of the box. Finally, they will have some sort of industry experience that they can bring to the role and utilize to improve and encourage their team.

  • Delegation and Responsibility

After finding the right managers for your team, you must start to delegate responsibility and specific tasks. Not only will this show trust in your high-performance managers and help them with their personal development, but this will also give you the chance to focus on more pressing matters.
As Wanda Thibodeaux  explains, delegating can also lead to better decision making – “Whenever you hand decisions off to someone else, you’re essentially choosing to reserve your brain power for the choices still left on your plate. And by trusting others to make some calls on your behalf, you up the odds that the calls you make yourself will be better and have bigger payoffs.” Although delegating responsibility takes planning and a certain level of communication and trust, it is a great way to strike a better work-life balance as you continue to focus on improving performance and bringing your business goals to fruition.

Cultivating Purpose and Shared Values

According to Michael Schneider, “Nearly 70 per cent of CEOs now recognize culture as one of the greatest sources of competitive advantage. Whereas company processes, technology, and strategy can be copied, an organization’s DNA cannot be reproduced.” Consequently, any business in 2020 looking to unleash their uncommon advantage should have a strong focus on developing a shared purpose within their organization.

However, there is a significant shift from operating in previous machine modes to acting as a living organism in a well networked and empowered environment. Because of this, if you are implementing changes, everything and everyone needs to move forward with you. This way, you will be far more prepared for any uncertainty. If you fail to achieve this, your company’s projects, initiatives and progress will stall, and your business strategy will become obsolete.

So how do you go about creating a shared purpose?

The more interconnected your business is, the higher it’s overall performance will be. And while enabling technologies can help with this, it’s essential that you also present your team with a clear vision. By striving to communicate a meaningful and well-thought-out strategy, employees can better understand the direction the company is moving in, as well as why new goals, technology, and processes are being put into place.

Clear timeframes, training and transparency can further support this strategy. Upskilling will promote growth and security within your business, as well as providing a clear path for employees to follow – a less intimidating proposition compared to the uncertainty of sudden changes that have no reason behind them.

To confidently execute these two points, you must work to understand the voices and opinions of your employees. No two people are the same, which means that every employee will have a different way of working and will find inspiration from various resources.

To quote McKinsey & Company again, “Smart organizations hit every note and mean it. That calls for walking the talk in, amongst other areas, race and gender diversity, social impact, and diversity of political expression. Some employees are most inspired by personal development (and, it must be said, monetary compensation); others find passion in objectives geared more toward their working team.”

By identifying what motivates an individual, you will be able to channel their energies to a higher purpose, allowing everyone to grow and develop rather than just a small group of people.

This strategy could also include investments to make the team you have employed more effective. Investments may consist of pay dividend to help a team rapidly adopt and implement change, another pre-requisite for businesses that will navigate the 2020’s.

Moving Forward

After assessing what trends are relevant to your company and how this will affect your employees, it is time to give the required resourcing, focus and attention needed to implement technology and new processes to successfully drive your organization to the top of your industry.

While this task can appear daunting, especially when managing the daily running of a business, you, as a leader, must be able to embrace the magnitude of change, be clear on the vision you want to make a reality, and decide where and how to start.

If you are struggling to find this confidence and lead the way to a more prosperous future, use this quote from Jeff Bezos (who rode the wave of the 2000 change) as some inspiration – “Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.”

So, what are you waiting for? Take a leap of faith and find the trend that will propel your organization to the forefront of innovation and change in 2020.

Written by
Shivendra Kumar
Shivendra Kumar is a highly regarded leader, known for delivering organizational transformation through innovation and process improvement. With a unique approach and inspirational leadership style that creates a culture of change in businesses, he develops organisational capability needed for both short and long term results. His blogs cover topics related to business improvement, metrics and innovation.