When times are tough, there's little room for mistakes. As many organisations face difficult times ahead, it becomes increasingly important to make the right choices. Although many decisions will be driven by pure economics, the decisions which are made about the future become even more significant.
Business leaders need to understand their markets
In recent times, we have witnessed a huge amount of volatility in global markets. But has this just been a recent phenomena? Well, no. In the last 10 years, over 46% of the Fortune 500 have disappeared from the list. The half-life of our top performing companies is becoming significantly shorter, and these organisations need leaders who understand the strategic drivers within their business markets.
Taking a strategic position
It is important that businesses regularly review their strategy in context of the changing market conditions. In recent times, we have witnessed a huge change in consumer behaviours, with the development of new technologies such as the Internet and of course, the growing mobile market. These changing practices are making businesses review their strategic assumptions. Consumer demands are challenging traditional business structures with shorter product life cycles and greater demands on logistical infrastructures. Consumers have become 'information hungry', product aware and impatient. These trends are set to continue.
As consumers behaviours change, so too do many of our market assumptions. They can range from new channels (social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter), through to consumer expectations (such as 'try before you buy', 'intelligent profiling' and 'greater visibility of value for money'). Only organisations that can develop an agile business capability will be able to meet these growing demands.
Decision making in the middle of ambiguity
It is likely that due to various factors, the business environment will become even more confused, complex and potentially volatile. Business leaders need to become comfortable with making decision in circumstances where information is incomplete, time is short and the consequences of failure is huge!
Manage the people and make the decisions where it counts!
Increasingly, the role of business leaders is to manage the organisational culture, getting the right people in the right jobs, and focusing on the essential aspects of the business where strategic direction is required. They then trust their staff to make the day-to-day decisions.
Empowerment is nothing new!
All of the above sounds like good old-fashioned empowerment, yet, it's important that individuals understand what is expected of them and that they willingly accept the responsibility of devolved decision making. By including all aspects of the business in critical decision-making, the business can resolve issues swiftly and effectively at the point of practice. Emerging trends and critical business information needs to be effectively shared and distinct and well-understood processes are critical in achieving an effective empowered business organisation.
In the end its all about leadership!
When all is said and done business needs leaders who can make this happen. They don't need to have all the answers but they need to make the big decision and get them right!