We live in a dynamic world – social structures are fast-evolving, technological advancements have been transforming our habits and lifestyle faster than ever before and our ambitions continue to remain high. The pandemic taught us several lessons and dismantled some of our assumptions and beliefs such as the feasibility and effectiveness of remote working, the importance of health and well-being on organisational performance, care for the society at large, usage of social media and the like. Organisations are routinely facing greater volatility in the markets and several uncertainties in their value creation and delivery processes. They are expected to be nimble and agile. Let us examine if we are facing these well and are designed well to handle more of it in future.
Assess our level of readiness
Given our current socio-economic context, the expectations of our stakeholders are changing. Customers want us to be quick in delivery, provide the best value for their money, accommodate changes in their orders as late as possible, deliver the quality they expect and bring out innovations regularly in our products and services. Given the progress in technology, they have access to information of all possible suppliers, pricing, product features, reviews of past orders delivered by us and whatnot. Businesses have to work hard to meet the expectations of their customers so that they can retain them. The expectation from the business is to be super-flexible, agile in its response, competitive and innovative. We can similarly think of the changing expectations of our other stakeholders right from shareholders and employees to suppliers, partners, government and the society at large. We will realise that an organisation needs to be agile, innovative, humane and efficient.
The question is how ready are we to deliver on these parameters. Leadership has to engage with this question deeply and make a true assessment of their current state. It calls for serious and sincere efforts of the leadership team in listening to their stakeholders and connecting the dots. It is possible in organisations that have the DNA to listen to their stakeholders, the humility to value the inputs received and work on those earnestly. Easier said than done! This DNA differentiates the leaders from the others.
Many leaders keep making small changes in their organisation all the time and feel that they do not need to take a pause and examine their level of readiness to face the realities of their environment. They fear, if they take a pause to reflect on the changes, their operations will get impacted. It is essentially their temptation of staying hands-on and their inability to trust the capabilities of their people in the next line and empower them. As a result, they fail to take the leap into the zone of excellence and keep their organisation mediocre and suboptimal.
Many other organisations have the right intentions of transforming and understand the need for it. They often engage strategy consultants to review their state of affairs and prepare transformation plans. The challenge comes in the execution of those plans because that’s a tough job; it needs continuous monitoring and leadership involvement. Some leaders show a lot of commitment and involvement in the initial days of the transformation journey; and sooner than later, move on to new opportunities they spot in the market. This impairs the journey and brings down the returns on the investments made in the design of the journey.
Get the basics in place
Leaders need to check if their leadership teams across the hierarchy are aligned with the vision and the values of the organisation. All of us want to belong to a larger system and align with its purpose and dream. That is why a community becomes significant in the life of an individual. The leaders need to communicate clearly why the organisation exists and the vision they have for the organisation. If they are clear, they can attract the right-minded people to be a part of the mission. Tomorrow’s organisations need to be agile in their response and hence, we need the employees, partners and suppliers to be excited about the purpose of the organisation and its ways of working. Every organisation needs a long-term commitment of its employees, suppliers and partners to its journey. If the attrition rates are high, the organisation suffers from a lack of alignment and commitment; hence, it loses the competition with its peers in responding to the expectations of the dynamic market. Sometimes, the cycle turns vicious and devilish. Hence, the culture is the first component that needs to be established in the organisation so that it is visible in a consistent manner.
Secondly, we need the processes for value creation and value delivery to be in place, followed consistently and continually improved. Many organisations do not assess and review their processes; thus, run the risk of missing the opportunity of leveraging an opportunity in the market or internally. In order to stay nimble-footed, efficient and agile, their processes need to spur speed, customer focus and efficiency.
Thirdly, the power of talent can never be overstated; it’s a critical piece in the basic design of the company. Again, it is the commitment, vision and involvement of the leadership team which impacts the quality of talent we attract, the way we engage them, develop and retain them to stay agile, innovative, humane and efficient. Every organisation has its own talent strategy which defines which roles are core to the organisation’s competitive advantage and the approach it takes to nurture the critical talent.
Tomorrow’s organisation needs agility, innovation, efficiency and humaneness in every step it takes.