Successful businesses have one thing in common: They change, and they change well. But while change is necessary, volatility can make or break a company in today’s tumultuous business world. Progressing to the “next level” is a goal of many, but an outcome for few; old patterns simply don’t apply anymore.
Make sure your business faces a future of possibility by doing these five things:
1) Realize that good is the enemy of great. It’s easy to become complacent when things are going well; many firms see no reason to change if they’re maintaining the status quo. Then, they realize – too late – that the world has been changing, but they just didn’t care to see. Instead, anticipate change and embrace the potential it holds for your company. Regardless of the current level of your business, there is always room for growth.
2) Use change as a catalyst for progress. Societal changes leave indelible marks on organizations, as well as on the business landscape as a whole. When change does happen, do away with the notion that “business as usual” will resume afterward, and that you must only adapt for a short time. Rather, use change to move forward. By anticipating and shaping events, you can strategically control your company’s responses. Dealing with volatility isn’t easy, but if you put it off or try to find shortcuts, you’ll quickly be left behind.
The ability to adapt is essential. Times change, markets evolve; the only true constant left in business is that change will occur. It’s the successful businesses that understand this and are prepared for it. If you lead the change, you control it.
3) Think holistically, act personally. Part of thinking personally means understanding your customers, both now and in the future. By anticipating trends and understanding what your customers will want down the road, you can be prepared to meet the future head-on. That being said, remember to look at the big picture when defining goals, too. We live in an ultra-connected world, and it’s important to understand how even small factors can affect the big picture.
4) Lead with purpose. Be an advocate for your organization. Regardless of his or her level of involvement, everyone needs to understand the company’s vision, values, and mission. If employees explicitly understand the firm’s reason for existence and identify with the culture, they’re more likely to work together toward common objectives.
When setting goals, keep the company’s values and mission at the forefront. Define short- and long-term objectives, and communicate the strategic plan to employees. Be sure to evaluate employees’ alignment with these objectives, and don’t be afraid to take action to realign, if necessary.
5) Think laterally to move forward. In addition to thinking critically and strategically, embrace lateral thinking. Look at challenges and problems from every angle, not just directly. You may be surprised at the unconventional, progressive solutions you come up with.
Certainty may be a lost concept in the modern business world, but embracing change will keep your company on the road to the next level. These five action items will help you approach change in a way that promotes resiliency and, ultimately, brings your business to that often-sought – but rarely achieved – “next level.”
Luis Gallardo is a global brand and marketing leader and expert in the areas of strategic brand management, brand engagement, brand expression, marketing, communications, business development, and reputation management. Former managing director of global brand & marketing at Deloitte, Luis provided leadership to Deloitte’s member firm network of more than three thousand marketing and communications professionals. Author of the book: Brands & Rousers.