COVID-19 is no longer a scare it was a year ago. We have vaccines now and most businesses have gone back to normalcy. Road traffic has increased significantly; commercial traffic has picked up quite a bit. Most businesses are optimistic about significant growth in the year. Barring a few sectors such as travel, tourism and hospitality, most other sectors have started functioning at normal levels. The time has come for businesses to plan for the future and start driving on the highway of growth. What are the key components of the strategy ahead?
Thanks to the pandemic, all of us have realised the power of digitisation faster than expected. We realised that work can be done remotely and the air we breathe can be purer. Buying and selling can happen without in-person interactions with the same level of efficacy as the previous methods. Global supply chains got disrupted and local suppliers emerged to address the gaps; currently, the local ones have started occupying the centre-stage in many organisations. Customers have changed their habits; employees and their managers have adapted to a new way of working.
All these changes have been possible due to tech adoption. Businesses have learnt how to take this development in their stride and respond to this by aligning their systems and processes with the changed realities. When the pandemic hit us, smart and agile organisations were quick to recognise the changes and opportunities; they could respond faster and stay relevant. As we move into the next phase, to win the race in the marketplace, organisations have to transition into a stage of proactive innovation of new products, methods and business models.
Customer focus has to be greater than ever before
Since changes are fast and frequent, it is more critical than ever before to put our ears and eyes on the ground. We have to embed ourselves in the customers’ lives to understand the challenges they face while they lead their lives using our products and services; we have to also discover opportunities to fulfil their unmet and latent needs. The life cycle of products and services is getting shorter than in the past and hence, we have to get the design, pricing and distribution right in our first attempt; we do not have the luxury of revamping or making frequent course corrections.
Adaptability has to be all-pervasive
Someone said data is the new oil. However, in the current context, adaptability is the new oil.
We need our employees to be adaptable so that they can observe, learn and make course corrections to deliver the desired impact in the business. In order to inject heavy doses of adaptability into the culture, the leaders have to stand up and lead the way. They will need to communicate honestly and make decisions promptly. All the people process right from recruitment and onboarding to learning, development and performance management have to make sure that the new employees understand why and how they need to be agile and adapt; similarly, the existing ones need to appreciate the changes in the environment and make conscious efforts in this direction.
We have to thrive and grow in the marketplace by combining the power of our customer insights, the prowess of technology and the pervasiveness of adaptability in all aspects of a business.