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Change Management

Published on April 9th, 2014 | by Special Guest


Challenges for Business Leaders Today

There can be no doubt that markets both globally and nationally are changing as we emerge from the downturn.  New challenges for business leaders are present as the markets have reshaped.  As an interim business leader are you prepared for what lies ahead?  Have you kept pace with global change? Our guest post today comes from business growth specialist, Geoff Searle.

Since the turn of the century, emerging markets have moved centre stage, the digital revolution has arrived, social networks have become ubiquitous, a sharing economy has been born, scientific advances such as mapping the human genome have changed our lives, and the voice of the people has reinvented markets and overturned governments.

Three key Challenges for Business Leaders

Looking ahead, the biggest challenge for business leaders, however, is not accurately predicting the future. Rather it is about first having a broad and open understanding of the trends reshaping the world, second an informed point of view on the future and what it means for your organisation and third, and most importantly, taking actions today to begin to prepare. In a world of accelerating change, the biggest risk for leaders is not being wrong in their point of view about the future, but beginning to take action too late.

Opportunities and Threats

Very few companies will escape impact, whether through shifting demand, increasing costs, or the emergence of new risks. However, times of change create opportunities as well as threats. For some companies, survival will dominate the agenda; however for others the downturn offers the chance to extend their lead over the competition. High-performance businesses will be looking at ways to strengthen their position and emerge from the downturn stronger and better placed to win.

Global Perspective for Business Leaders

The global economic environment has also changed dramatically since the early 1990s; different rules and dynamics now apply. The re-engineering boom of the last 20 years, and the wave of outsourcing and offshoring that has dominated the last 10 years, have left companies leaner but less flexible. There is also a greater degree of interdependency among companies than in the past, which multiplies the potential sources of risk in uncertain times (as the banks have been learning to their dismay).

Changing Environment

Furthermore, some of the key assumptions on which many current business models were predicated—low interest rates, cheap transport, widespread consumer indifference to issues of sustainability and global corporate citizenship and a large and enduring wage gap between emerging and developed economies— no longer hold true. As a result, many companies are likely to find themselves with suboptimal business models, which will be expensive and risky to change.

Future Skills Needed

A downturn can also create an ideal opportunity to upgrade human capital and tailor it more closely to the needs of a future operating model. A straightforward exercise of mapping the required skills against the organisation’s current skills is likely to reveal significant gaps, as well as areas of substantial oversupply. With redundancies on the agenda for many companies, this is a timely opportunity to address these imbalances.

Upgrade your Talent

Although recruiting needs to be sensitively handled at a time when headcount is being reduced, business leaders will see this as an ideal opportunity to invest in new skills and capabilities.

The fundamentals of the UK market for talent have not changed: shortages of critical skills are predicted to worsen in the near future. The next couple of years offer a unique opportunity to upgrade the talent pool and strengthen employees’ ties to the company. Interim executive support will be a critical path to short-termism objectives and immediate change strategies.

The Value Equation and Business Leadership

Every position at every company has a specific value. This value is composed of what the position does for a company in and of itself (regardless of who occupies the position) and also what the person hired for that job brings to the role. Seniority, cost of living, or social constraints should never be a part of the equation. Output and delivery is what should be measured, this is the value of seniority over just another placement.

Remember, it isn’t enough to have great talent; as a business leader you have to give great talent a clear line of sight between organisational objectives and their own goals. Working together to create the company’s overall goals, collaboratively.

Are you the business leader of a company that needs to change but are afraid of the risk?  Is your company well prepared for the changes in global and national markets?  What has been your experience as an interim manager coping with these new challenges we are seeing today?  Please leave your comments below.

Photo Credit:michaeljung

About Geoff Searle

Geoff Searle is a very passionate and innovating international director whose leadership is characterised by sharing information, round-table discussions, and strategic growth and deployment. Embracing cultural diversity in business, Geoff is a thought-leader. Now, he has added being an author to his impressive resume.  Details of his new publication can be found by following this link: ‘Freedom After The Sharks’

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About the Author

Alium has a network of Trusted Partners and Associates around the world who have a great amount of knowledge to share with the interim community. We regularly invite them to create special guest articles giving our readers the most up-to-date and informative market knowledge available. If you would like to write a guest article, please get in contact with Rod McInnes or call 02073987500.

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