Scott Steinberg: 7 Ways to Future-Proof Your Business
This is a guest blog post authored by business strategist and best-selling author Scott Steinberg.
As market leaders are often all-too-aware, today’s cultural and business environments are rapidly shifting—often in highly unpredictable and disruptive ways. As I discovered while researching the best-selling book, Make Change Work for You, analysts at IBM have uncovered a telling reason why: In their words, continuous change is the new normal.
The good news is that many organizations consistently survive and thrive in these volatile and frequently unpredictable times. And the ones best skilled at embracing change and evolution succeed up to ten times more often than less adaptable peers.
Here are seven new habits that can help you adapt yours to be more competitive—and stay ahead of highly-disruptive business environments:
- Create a culture of trust and encourage employees to speak up. Leading enterprises empower workers and reward them for bringing potential opportunities and challenges to their attention. Frontline staffers are often a firm’s most informed audience—to create and sustain competitive advantage, provide them the tools they need to translate ideas into action.
- Constantly rethink operating practices. Is "the way it’s always been done” still the best way to do it? Like competitors, forward-thinking business leaders are always asking themselves this question.
- Freely collaborate across the organization. Flatten lines of communication, and allow information, insights and support to flow throughout your organization. The more readily you can align tools, talent and resources towards common goals, the more readily you can foster innovation.
- See the future today. Rather than simply keeping pace with rivals, top innovators always consider where the future is heading and strive to put the solutions tomorrow’s audiences will demand in place today.
- Be open to change. Business leaders should expect employees to stay abreast of changing business environments—and intelligently and flexibly respond to them. To this extent, staffers are given the freedom to take small, smart risks with new programs, initiatives, and communications campaigns that have the potential to help the organization better serve its customers … so long as these risks are intelligent, productive, and cost-affordable.
- Spread your risk. Leading organizations don’t try to be risk free, but rather actively pursue a more calculated range of business bets. As with financial portfolios, these organizations constantly manage and adjust a portfolio of new initiatives, outreach efforts, and strategic ventures. Not all wagers will pan out. But all are designed to collectively help the organization grow its capabilities, spread risk, and learn through real-time monitoring and course-correction.
- Never stop learning. Rather than just relying solely on contingency plans, market leaders consistently experiment with new innovations and solutions—especially when things are going well, and they can most afford to gamble. By consistently pioneering new ideas and approaches, and extending their experience, capabilities and comfort zones, they create added flexibility and room to maneuver in the face of changes or unforeseen events.
In short, leading businesses turn employees into emergency responders. They transform infrastructures from barriers into enablers. They see business strategy as being flexible, not fixed. And they continually provide collaborators with the tools and runway they need to reimagine, reinvent, and innovate their way to success as scenarios change. You too can consistently adapt to changing times and trends and go from strength to strength, by doing the same.
Among today’s leading providers of keynote speeches, workshops and seminars for associations and Fortune 500 firms, award-winning professional speaker and trends expert Scott Steinberg is a best-selling author and expert on leadership and innovation. He has written three books including Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty, and Millennial Marketing: Bridging the Generation Gap. His website is www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com.