We all know it is coming. Some of us can even sense it. No-one has seen it - and yet you and I have to make success out of it. The emerging future! New technologies and digitalisation are strong driving forces in changing our businesses. We are just starting to wake up to the complexity and speed of it all.
Almost everything that can be digitalised will be. Technologies that we couldn’t even have dreamt of can make our businesses irrelevant or help them bloom. They are changing how we work but most of all they should change our business models. And all this will continue at an exponential rate. Are you and I ready for it?
It is easy to become infatuated with new technologies and forget the big picture and the real possibilities. In the end, what will make or break a company’s success are purpose, culture and people.
The book Firms of Endearment created a 18-firm index of purpose-driven companies and tracked their financial performance over 10 years. The 18 FoE companies showed an average annual return on equity of 13.1%, which is 9 % higher than the Standard & Poor average of 4,12 %.
Purpose will matter even more in the future. With such an enormous speed of complex changes, companies can not survive on their own. Digital disruption will highlight the importance of business ecosystems. We need to attract and rely on totally new type of partners - even from outside of our own industry. A great way to do this is to have a bigger purpose that is appealing and relevant to customers, employees and partners alike. Survival of the fittest actually becomes survival of the most attractive and collaborative.
Having a great purpose is an excellent starting point. What will ensure long-term success though, is how you treat the people around you every day and every time. For leaders building trust, dialogue skills, flexibility, fluidity, curiosity and empathy will become crucial assets. When machines take over routine work and innovations are happening outside of our companies we need to be able to inspire people more than ever before.
But that will not be enough either. Strategy work has to change, too. It is not enough that your people understand the strategy and do their part in implementing it. They have to understand the different options so that you will have people in the thousands who are wide awake to detect even the smallest changes in the business environment.
Business is about movement – there are only positive and negative cycles. If you think you are on a neutral cycle, you are actually heading for a negative cycle. Let’s all constantly develop our ability to act despite the uncertainties that surround us!
Come join us on our journey to the emerging future in the programme Liquid Leader.