John F Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
We live in a fast-changing world where customer needs and preferences have been continuously evolving, innovations led by technology have been disrupting traditional business models and our aspirations have been changing in tune with the evolution of socio-economic scenarios around us. Covid-19 has imposed quite a lot of unforeseen changes on humanity and we as a race have responded swiftly to it. Organisations have had to adapt quickly to the changes in behaviours and expectations of their stakeholders, right from customers to employees, business partners, governments and the society at large. The pace is unlikely to change in the near future. How do we keep pace in transforming ourselves?
Starts at the top
Climate change and various other sustainability challenges were the talks of the town every now and then over the last decade. The pandemic has brought in changes that seem to be permanent in the way we lead our lives on our mother earth. We must recognise them! People travelled much lesser on the roads; consumption of fossil fuels on avoidable travel and transport declined; our paradigms about the consumption of many products and services have transformed. Many practices which appeared essential at one point in time are now believed to be followed sparingly.
Leaders have to recognise these changes and question their beliefs; recalibrate those and establish new ones. It is not easy! Many of them have been struggling to accept the fact that work can be done remotely, all meetings need not be held in person, all products and services need not be bought after a physical contact or experience, many celebrations and events can be held in a new format without diluting their effect and many such. As a result, some products and services have to revamp themselves, recast their target customers and hence, establish new processes and systems.
Transformation is the spirit
Culturally every family, community or organisation is not open for transformation. As human beings, we all understand the need to transform; some of us do this with ease and some with a lot of difficulties. Each one of us behaves differently to a call for change.
There could be some low hanging fruits that most of us are happy to pluck. Those changes are widely accepted and hence, driving those programmes to achieve the desired results is normally easy. However, these changes may not be adequate for an organisation to succeed holistically. We need all the wheels to run in sync for a vehicle to run smoothly. Hence, we need the culture in the organisation to be that of curiosity, close observation, exploration and innovation. Challenging the status quo and making continual improvements should be the norm.
Leaders have to demonstrate a consultative style of management and encourage diversity of thoughts apart from keeping a tight grip on the operational mechanics of the organisation.
Getting the right people on board
Working in an environment that is continuously evolving means that we recognise the present and the future. Laurels of the past do not mean anything other than one’s confidence to succeed; failures in the past similarly do not mean anything other than one’s determination to succeed. We need people who have an attitude of humility and intelligence to learn with passion, proactiveness and agility to execute with rigour.
Searching for such exquisite talent is not easy. Leaders have to invest their energies in leading this effort and fortifying their organisation with the right talent. Developing the right purpose for the organisation and making progress on the journey is subject to getting their team right. Hence, this is an important and ongoing effort for all the leaders in an organisation.