Check out this column from Mark Holmes that appeared on the Springfield Business Journal’s website on March 18th. Mark’s article clearly explains what many business owners are expressing to me. Read it and understand if things feel a bit out of control, you’re not alone.
Opinion: CEOs preparing for new norm
by Mark Holmes
The level of vagueness, uncertainty and ambiguity in today’s business is incomparable to anything seen in the past.
As a business leader, where you once thought you had things pretty well figured out, chances are you now have more doubts and questions than you have answers and confidence. While you previously may have valued the importance of investing in the future, today you may be questioning taking that risk.
Welcome to the new norm.
Blame social shifts, political shifts, technological shifts and even global shifts. They may or may not be to blame, but the fact is, succeeding in business today is simply more difficult than ever before. And, in some cases, there is so much uncertainty that it’s even hard to know what questions to ask.
That’s why we set out to see what small to midsize business owners are most concerned about and to see if their thinking aligns with ours on some of the changes that must be made.
We sent out 100 questionnaires to business owners, CEOs and executives of small and midsize companies to see if they agreed that the way business is conducted has changed and will remain this way going forward and, if so, how they are adapting their business strategy and operations to deal with the evolving changes. They were asked what their greatest concerns were and why; how they have dealt with those concerns to date and what specific changes they see themselves making to successfully adjust. We reached across industry sectors, including such diverse areas as manufacturing, professional services, technology, insurance and retail.
More than 95 percent of those surveyed believe the current business environment is, in fact, the new norm. To think that doing business will return to previous traditional business cycles or that business can be conducted as-usual is faulty thinking. There must be an openness to a new way of thinking – a mindshift, if you will.
Of greatest concern is the impact of governmental regulations, the uncertainty of the economy and the emergence of new technologies. All impact the real costs of doing business; and serve as potential risks to competitive viability and future sales growth. Admittedly, technology also represents real opportunity, but only as long as the business is on the leading edge rather than the bleeding edge.
In some industries, experienced talent will come at a premium as will managing to retain top performers. Thus attracting and hiring quality employees also will be paramount.
So, what kind of changes do those surveyed think is required of them personally?
CEOs must be responsive, nimble and flexible. They must be up-to-date, able to anticipate potential changes and adapt to emerging trends. And they must be predictive of how impending changes will impact their business. Long-term plans must be rolled back and replaced by more short-term planning cycles; for some, that means shifting from three-year plans to six-month plans.
Not only must they modify product offerings and/or their target markets, but they must be poised to recognize where disruptions to the new norm occur and leverage that insight to gain a competitive advantage. And, by all means, it will be essential to stay one or more cycles ahead of customer’s demands while continuing to gain valuable insights into customer’s expectations and the priorities they value.
Most of all, their thinking is aligned with ours in the fact that in order to successfully transform and take advantage of the new norm, leaders will be forced to discard old habits and beliefs for new ones. They must be nimble enough to master the future by changing their thinking wherever necessary.
In essence, to truly transform and successfully ride the waves of the new norm, they must undergo a mind shift.
Consultants Mark Holmes, of Springfield, and Bette Price, of Dallas, are writing the upcoming book, “MindShift: Transforming Your Organization for Future Growth.”
Visit this link to view the original article.