Jun 03 2020| Leadership | crisis
Think to the Future
The world has changed - are we ready?
by Phil Eyre Founder
The June issue of Business Brief is now available, featuring the latest article in my leadership series. In this article, I discuss the future of leadership, and how good leaders can move forward to a future beyond COVID-19.
This pandemic demands forward-thinking like never before. Why? Because business has changed forever.
We will work differently.
The pandemic has proven that working from home works, despite previously held convictions that ‘we must be in the office together’. The implications are far-ranging, from office design to commuter habits (I’ve saved a fortune in parking tickets over the lockdown).
We will travel differently.
The need for face-to-face meetings in other locations will be questioned. One business leader described to me how easy and now wholly acceptable it is to discuss the transformation of the business with globally dispersed colleagues as an ongoing conversation via video call. Previously it would have taken months to arrange an intense, in-person meeting.
People will be valued differently.
This crisis reminds us who the essential workers truly are, many currently on sub-average salaries. We are reminded that we are part of a complex organism; my choices will affect others whether I like it or not.
Viewing life and work outside of our narrow frameworks will be a catalyst for change, including how businesses treat suppliers. The primacy of the shareholder will be challenged.
Sustainability and corporate social responsibility will climb the agenda.
This includes financial sustainability - prudence, capital and margins as well as social and environmental sustainability.
Classic tactics to treat the workforce as mere numbers rather than people will be scorned; slashing ‘headcount’ without supporting those people losing their jobs will be punished.
Businesses that look after their people, treating them respectfully (even if forced to make some redundant), will rise.
Every business is now a digital business.
Boardroom technophobes have no place in the future. It is no longer acceptable to leave digital ‘to the young people’. Businesses without a clear digital presence will fade. Leaders in digital transformation will flourish.
Leadership has always been about leading change.
This is the case now more than ever. The next few years - probably longer - will be marked by greater uncertainty, volatility and pace than we’ve experienced in our lifetimes.
Anyone expecting a comfortable V-shaped recovery will be sorely disappointed; it will be more like a series of Ws. The best leaders will flourish in these conditions.
Are you ready?