BusinessDay

Why business leaders need to start living in the future

These are times like never before, our world is changing and very rapidly. The world is experiencing great uncertainty and complexity; global economic downturn, high unemployment rate and climate change, coupled with a wave of political and social unrest. Businesses operate in a vacuum, they are integral part of the society, therefore are not immuned from the global challenges.

However, all these challenges point to the fact that business leaders need to develop skill-sets that will guide their organisations towards a better future. The most important skill required to achieve this is vision! Visionary leaders have the ability to model their organisation to fit a desired future. So, the question is, can business leaders predict the future? Not absolutely, but to an extent, using intelligent data and trends.

Steps to living in the future today

Start from where you are: A journey of a thousand miles, they say, begins with a step, so to attain a higher goal you must first identify what’s important for your business right now. Knowing your current state will help your organization chart out the best course for reaching your goals and objectives. You must, therefore, outline your business’ operating procedures and begin to benchmark them with global standards.

Exceptional leaders understand the present and are clear about the reality of their current state. They don’t sugarcoat the truth and they keep their employees in the know.

Understand the long-term vision of your business: Considering current trends, it is evident that the world is irreversibly tilting towards digitization. It is no longer business as usual, therefore it is expected of business leaders that they begin to re-evaluate their processes accordingly.

A vision is a vivid mental image of what you want your business to be at some point in the future, based on your goals and aspirations. To this end, the long-term vision of your business must ride the wave of trending technology and advancement – in your industry and generally as relevant. If you run a printing press, for example, the question you should ask yourself is this: “How would the future of prints be with the advancement in technology and the growing adoption of e-books?”

Look at the big picture: The future is unpredictable to some degree. Leaders who fail to prepare for this uncertainty invariably get caught in the web of confusion, or worse, forced to go out of business. The future therefore requires leaders that understand the big picture of their enterprises and how it fits into the market trends and future of business. Learn more about what kind of leader you are, in this context, in this article: The Big Picture versus Bite-sized Achievements.

Looking at the big picture affords you the understanding of market trends, industry analytics, global economy, etc. It also gives you an idea of where the developed worlds are headed, and with this information you are well equipped to make informed decisions about the future of your business.

Read also: How can managers build a future-ready workforce?

Be flexible and adaptable to change: The precarious business environment of today is a beacon that calls for corporate flexibility. Organizations that understand the principle of adaptability and flexibility tend to outdo and outlive their competitors. The world of today and the future is tending more and more towards digitisation, hence organisations can no longer rely on conventional and outdated methods of doing business.

A perfect example is the outbreak of the coronavirus. Organizations with a well-defined long-term goal quickly adjusted their processes and procedures and even took advantage of the pandemic to streamline and scale their activities.

Leverage technology: The future of work is a technology-driven future. It is projected that automation will play a major role in how business is conducted in the future. To this end, if your organisation will play in the future, then you must scale through the first, basic stage of technological advancement, that is, having a functional website and active presence on social media. More advanced innovations like Cloud Technology, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and the likes provide leverage too lofty and beneficial for today’s organisations to ignore.

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