The world has changed. We witnessed more change in a matter of months than most of us experienced in a life time. The pace and magnitude the world will see in the next few years will be more than we have seen in last two decades.
Pick any industry and chances are that it will look very different in 2021 than it did in 2019. If the industries themselves are to change dramatically, every company within have to go through their own unique upheavals. This forced disruption is beyond the traditional change agents – M&As, a new CEO coming in, or the arrival of a new technology.
Any change is disruptive, but this time it started off being traumatic, and caught almost all companies unawares. But it will also bring tremendous opportunity for many.
Challenge the complacency
Companies will have to set a new direction from the top and engage the people below. Although the core of many businesses will remain the same, almost every company will have to think differently on how to execute their strategy. That’s a real opportunity.
* Comparisons to the industry average or benchmark will be a thing of the past. The industry leader has to blindly stop reacting when it starts to lose customers by going for layoffs to reduce the cost base.
* Corporate culture sends subliminal messages, and plush offices with wooden flooring and fine art in prime locations will no longer be signs of success.
* Competing lines of business will have to pave the way to join hands to disrupt the market and use customer data to enhance their experience.
* Mapping new talent for future client offers will pave way to reimagine business like never before.
Drive out that fear
Change cannot happen in an environment gripped with fear. In our region we have seen leadership rise to the occasion in an environment gripped with fear. People even questioned the necessity of building the largest manmade port – Port Rashid – in 1972 or a tunnel in Shindagah in 1975. But before long, these projects became the cornerstone to success and outpaced the developments around at that time.
Companies are no different. They have to look inward and remove the fear of failure and take responsibility when confronted with external factors. Research by social scientist Fiona Lee suggests that organisations that attribute failures to internal causes will come out ahead not only in public perception, but also in terms of the profit-line.
The study shows by taking this approach there were two-fold advantages:
* We have control of the problem and can fix it; and
* We aren’t comparing ourselves to the industry average every time but take the leap ahead of time to grow out of disruption.
Employees need to be empowered for successful change. To empower people we need to encourage innovative thinking, demonstrate respect and extend trust by working on reasons on poor results. We have to enable people and organizations to exceed their potential.
People need to know what they are good at and what roles can they be better at in contributing to the success. And to help people exceed their potential, organisations not only have to share the big goal in front but also break it down into parts and help them find the “flow” in their actions.
People will exceed their potential once they know what to do, how to do, where to go to do it better, and upskill themselves to make it a habit. Keeping your internal listening channels open is a key to ensure you are developing the right people towards a goal... and getting the best out of them.
Recruitment doesn’t end when people join. You have to treat your team as champions to attract and keeping the best talent by having a stimulating and rewarding work environment. As businesses change, we have a great opportunity to adapt to the new normal and have employees’ flow create new industry leaders. The journey has just begun.
- Vijay Gandhi is head of regional operations at Korn Ferry Digital.