Adapt or die

Adapt or die

“Disruption has become the new normal”

The world moves at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you two steps behind. It is not the biggest but the quickest that will win the business. The fourth industrial revolution will alter the way we work, live and develop. It is unlike anything we have experienced before. It is disrupting almost every business in every country.

How do you intend to win the business? - Jack Welsh

He says this is the key question you should ask yourselves.

When he took over GE in 1980 the company was valued at fourteen billion dollars. Twenty years later Wall Street valued it at $490 billion. It was the most valuable company in the world. One of his advice is to first ask your selves “How do I intend to win this business” - and then to ask your front - line employees to give their input. If you only ask your management team your are in a huge risk to miss the right and necessary input. Too many members of Top Management team are afraid of challenging their leaders and colleagues, and also about loosing face.

In a world ruled by change, uncertainty and disruption companies will be in need of leaders able to create organisations aligned to the changing circumstances. Always be devoted to growth. To say it in an easy way - To be in lead of a winning team you will have to develop a company deliveringsolutions customers are willing to pay for. 

What gets measured gets improved. You should measure your team not by what they do, but what results they deliver to increase the value to investors and customers.

What does this fourth industrial revolution mean to us, and how to respond?

There are for sure many ways to navigate. Books, articles, well known theory and methods, but most important good examples from leaders, companies, and organisations should be used as important tools when you take your decisions about business model, structure and strategy. Reducing cost is solving challenges, but results and development are made by exploiting opportunities.

In this short article I have highlighted some key points that you will hopefully find useful



Globalisation requires a global mindset

Have a look at this picture. The youngster represent the future. A lot of the Top Management team are struggling with the balance the “Think globally and act locally” We can learn from the youngsters at this picture saying “It is when we put different people together - with the same goal that magic happens -” Diversity is necessary. Next time you are hiring make sure you are looking for a young talent with a growth mindset. And somebody with an attitude where they don't judge people from gender, age, nationality or background but for their contribution. And look for the candidates with the inner hunger.

Get rid of todays ineffective and costly HR organisation. It is not working!

To be able to win the business you will need the competitive force to continue to confront in the future demand organisational excellence. Organisational excellence is not traditional HR activities like staffing, compensations, downsizing and developing program just stealing the time to do business away from managers. In a challenging market situation companies have been using downsizing, reengineering and consolidation to reduce cost and increase efficiency, and forgetting about the other part of profitability- revenue growth. Many highly skilled and motivated people working within HR are stuck in handling daily paperwork, hiring and firing - very often the activities are disconnected from the real and needed business oriented work in an organisation. HR in 2016 should lead the way in how to execute to deliver efficiency to ensure cost are reduced. Every company should be able to simplify processes to ensure the required quality with as few people as possible. HR should be the change navigator in every organisation enabling them to acquire new customers and develop new products and solutions.

Remember the customer - move strategy execution from planning in the meeting room to the market where the customers are

It is fascinating how most of the organisations seems to forget about customers and possibly new market in challenging situations in existing markets. Its a great focus in restructuring, reducing cost and aligning the organisation. The shift from simple digitalisation to innovation based on the combination of technologies is forcing companies to identify new business models.

Why do they forget to ask the most important questions: 

1. What is our business -instead of what have we always done 

2. Who is our customer - Not we have always delivered to them

3. What does the customer consider value (being world class has no value, if that is not what the customer is in need of)

Know your facts - never assume

“The devil is in the details” Often when Companies try to reduce cost by start doing things that only ends up in «saving hundred and losing thousands. It´s important to do good analysis before you decide. Use well known tools, but most important use your employees to receive feedback. Arrange workshops and round table. Avoid internal improvement programs - it´s normally just time consuming and very often waste of time. Do it quick, focus on improving quality and the value it delivers.

Your task as a leader is to understand the changing environment, to challenge the assumptions and always have the drive to develop and innovate.

Get the right people on the bus - but even more important get the wrong people off the bus

Digitalisation and globalisation will require new ways of working. You have to start by asking yourself these questions:

What kind of competence do I need tohave within my organisation?

What kind of attitude do I expect from my organisation. Peter Drucker was right when he said «Culture eats strategy for breakfast»You have to be sure that your organisation have the flexibility to quickly adapt to the customers needs. Far too many organisations have too many employees and a high cost base just from the simple reason that they are stuck in a mindset. We see lots of companies that used to be giants currently struggling. Automation will substitute the labour. It is for sure a challenge but also a opportunity to more safe and rewarding jobs. The factories of the future will be clean and largely empty of people. 3D printing is changing where and how things are made. Image spare parts for ships could be printed out at a port. 

To be able to navigate in this fourth industrial revolution you will need to always focus on what the future holds.

Work hard - if you want to lead changes you have to grow your mindset

Walk the talk. Stretch your goals. Inspire the people around you to do the same. Show dedication, roll up your sleeves and prove your willingness to be really good in winning the business. Employees are looking for leaders to inspire a direction, one who is willing to listen and learn and one that are able to take decision and to act quick.

Decide by fact lead by heart

As the head of an organisation it is ever so important that you manage the balance between facts and feeling. Always decide by facts. Always lead by heart. The best way to increase the profitability within an organisation is to better utilise the employees competence and willingness to deliver. Create a culture focusing on growth mindset. Every business leader should read Mindset by Dr Carol S. Dweck. It tells you how to cultivate talents and also the power of mindset.

Have fun

Life is too short not to have any fun along the way. And for those of us passionate about what we are doing - winning business is for sure fun! Go inspire your people with a drive and enthusiasm. In the rapid changing market you need to turn challenges into opportunities by empowering compassion and cooperation.

Would you like to receive more advices on how to “Adapt to make sure your not dying” please contact kriston@activepeople.no  and she  will be happy to provide you with more input.