Is Your Organization Thriving in Chaos?
The leadership at many top companies today are at a tough crossroads: they’re facing urgent demands for increased performance but they have no reliable way to make it happen. The global economy is struggling along like a Ferrari with a flat and while some sectors have improved since the 2008 recession began shredding our trusty “road maps to success,” there’s no doubt that our old notions of how to run a thriving business are not serving us well today.
The global economy has shifted dramatically, leaving many C-Suite executives feeling worn out from the endless game of trial and error with which they’ve been trying to manage their enterprises. Some of them figured out long ago that there needed to be a change in both the vision that’s driving their organization and the way it plays out in the marketplace. And they’re disappointed that their team, and their employees, aren’t keeping pace. The CEOs of many companies today can see and sense the subtle changes that need to happen in their organization in order to generate greater results.
It’s like adjusting the trim tabs on an airplane: small changes can make a big difference to the craft’s trajectory. But it’s tough to explain how much pressure to apply, and when, to people who aren’t in the cockpit and have never flown before. If the CEO is operating from a different paradigm than his or her team, it’s going to be hard for that airplane to take wing.
Complicating the whole situation is the fact that the economy is no longer predictable: it used to be that if you developed a sound business strategy, hired the best people you could afford, swept your marketing machine into motion and increased your output, your business would make more money. Sure, there would be recessions and setbacks along the way but, generally speaking, business growth pretty much followed a template and success was just a matter of excellent strategizing, effective implementation and sound human resource management. Keeping that Ferrari at the front of the track required skill, focus and patience – but if you did what you did last year, only better, you were pretty much guaranteed to watch your old benchmarks disappear in the rear view mirror.
The VUCA Economy
In the post-2008 economy, that has all changed. Business conditions now are volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). What worked last year, if it worked, is just not generating the response you need today and, while you’re off scoping out innovative new ideas to start testing out in real life, your team is still wondering why the business strategy they spent so much time developing six short months ago is now completely out of date. Your marketing strategy is getting poor results. Your employees are discouraged, defensive, discordant and unmotivated. Making money in today’s environment seems to require the visionary skills of a psychic and the magical insight of an alchemist.
So what’s a leader to do? Allow his or her team to stare mutely at the radar screen moping about the way things used to be while they wait for more favourable conditions? Or make them charge boldly into the unknown and give it their best shot, knowing that they don’t have a clue how this is all going to turn out. For anyone alive today, this is an unprecedented set of circumstances. And we believe it’s here to stay.
In the next couple blogs, follow along as we explain the VUCA economy and how you can become a navigator of change.
If you’d like to find out how Light-Core can support your organization to unprecedented returns in the months and years ahead, we invite you to get in touch. We excel at helping businesses navigate change.