The world is becoming more uncertain, complex and ambiguous by the day, and you’ve got two options: you can ignore it and risk your business perishing; or you can understand it and respond, according to consultant Patrick Hollingworth, who is an expert in helping multinational organisations deal with fast-paced evolution and uncertainty. He believes the key to your business’s success is based on how you respond to these rapidly changing times.
Here are Hollingworth’s four tips for business leaders as they navigate an increasingly digital world.
1. It is the journey that matters
Don’t focus completely on the goal or the outcome. In a business environment that is obsessed with transactions, quantity and metrics, this can sound counterintuitive. But focusing only on the numbers and the outcomes can lead to leaders becoming so obsessed with a goal that the likelihood of them actually achieving it is reduced. It’s also quite possible that your goal will be irrelevant by the time it has been achieved.
Instead, focus equally on the quality of the journey, such as improving processes and placing real value on your employees’ experiences. This will ultimately reflect in improved customer service.
2. Traditional methods no longer work
The tried and true methods are too slow. As an alternative, you need to create flatter, autonomous teams who are encouraged to develop internal skills, insights and traits in order to work leaner and faster. People need to upskill quickly, as there is not as much room for on-the-job training and observation.
3. Learn to embrace risk
Remember that risk is uncertainty that matters – it has both a downside and an upside. But much organisational thinking and communication around risk these days seems to convey that risk only has a downside. This belief then leads businesses of all sizes to aim for resilience as the only solution, and you don’t want this aim to manifest itself in increased bureaucracy, structure and size.
4. Observe wisely
Read and watch, listen and learn. Have a voracious appetite for new ideas, especially ones that are outside of your industry, and appreciate that learning is an infinite, life-long process. In today’s world, it’s the only way that you can stay current as a leader.