The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to operate in a climate of uncertainty. Business executives have to deal with uncertainties in both their personal and business lives.
Marius Nel, an IT support professional in Atlanta with 360 Smart Networks shares his experiences on strategy and disruption in business.
Some of the main questions to deal with include ‘How will the pandemic affect the economy?’ ‘How long do we have to deal with it’ and ‘how much can it affect our operations?’ The coronavirus disruption has forced business leaders to redefine their leadership styles.
The speed and scale of disruption today isn’t common in modern history. Business executives in manufacturing, media, logistics, digital technologies, and the banking industries are struggling to keep up. Organizations require the right leadership to continue thriving.
The uncertainty is accelerating a few macro agents of change that were present but may not have been evident in the recent past. They include:
- The adoption of remote work extends the disruption that was already caused by digital technology in various sectors.
- There exists a wide and fast-increasing wealth gap, and the current increase in unemployment adds to it.
- The pandemic has brought about a challenge in supply chains due to the closure of national borders. However, the problem was already signaled by the reduction of labor migration in markets that were initially open.
Even though almost all business leaders have felt the effects of digital disruption, few of them are prepared. Many of them still lack the skill to guide their organizations through times of uncertainty.
Research shows that leaders need to adopt four main tips to not only get through but also thrive in these uncertain times. HAVE competencies that stand for humility, adaptable, vision, and engage.
Business leaders must demonstrate humility and the ability to seek input from others. They should be willing to seek opinions from within and out of the organizations. Even though leaders have the responsibility to provide their employees with direction, they are not always right. Thanks to the internet, employees can have access to just as much information as their leaders. If a leader is uncomfortable or unwilling to admit that they need help, they may miss new ideas.
Business environments are always changing. If a business leader can’t adapt to the changes, then they may be unable to respond to digital disruption. An adaptable leader can change their mind when wrong. They can try out new strategies and encourage their teammates to adapt as well. In this new environment, adaptability is a necessity. While most companies have strategies that work, they aren’t etched in stone. A good leader must be willing to evolve quickly.
All good leaders have vision regardless of their work environment. A clear vision is the foundation of competency. With the increasing changes in business models and technology, opportunities can crop up when you least expect. Without a clear vision, it is easy to deviate. Traditional analytical approaches may no longer be sufficient to offer.
Engaging with customers, employees, partners, and suppliers can determine the success of any business. Digital leaders must be good listeners. They should be able to listen to their customers, members of staff, and the broader ecosystem. Engaging promotes a consistent interchange of ideas and information. It encourages employees to challenge the opinions of superiors and customers to ask questions about products and services.
Leaders that can successfully incorporate humility, adaptability, vision, and the ability to engage thrive even in digital uncertainty. They are likely to bounce back after disruptions. Changing your strategy can be difficult. It takes significant changes in tools, perspectives, and processes. New forms of collaboration can continue to benefit a business ecosystem long after digital disruptions pass.