The Covid-19 Pandemic was a seismic shock for society. As well as almost unimaginably disrupting everyone’s everyday lives, it caused great damage to the global economic systems – and how organizations operated. Survival became the goal. Not all succeeded.
Post the pandemic, there have been further devastating events. The global impact on energy prices, due in large part to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as rampant inflation and ongoing interest rate rises. Not all organizations will survive these shocks either.
Organizations are also seeing a fundamental rethinking of the employer-employee relationship. One unexpected consequence of the Pandemic was that, in general, staff enjoyed the freedoms allowed by remote working (even if housebound for much of the time) and are reluctant (and often unwilling) to return to conventional 9-5 working.
Moreover, there is a growing belief that the experience of the Pandemic has made customers less willing to accept shoddy customer service.
In short, the employer-employee and supplier-customer dynamic is in a period of rapid change. Our Book argues that the Age of Uncertainty we are experiencing requires a positive and optimistic outlook and leadership style, a growth mind-set rather than a fixed mind-set. A different type of Corporate is poised to emerge, boasting a different more evolved type of leader. The future might be uncertain, volatile, complex – but it can and should be bright at the same time. Seasoned leaders owe this to the next generations of leaders.
There is also a realization that the recent Pandemic and subsequent economic shocks do not represent an unusual “once in a lifetime” experience.
The next Pandemic will come not if, but when (because of further encroachment into unexplored geographies and rapid and constant travel).
Once localized events, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, now have consequences globally. The inter-connectivity of national economies means that an economic shock in one place impacts everywhere else. The potential dangers of major technological failures are an ever-present reality – and worry.
Required Transformation for The Age of Uncertainty
In short, we are now living in the Age of Uncertainty: unprecedented, unpredictable and, for many, unfathomable. But we argue in this book, not Unnavigable.
At the societal level, we must figure out how to adapt to this new world. Not an easy conundrum to solve and, to be frank, quite frightening for many.
But what does this mean for organizations? We simply cannot predict what will happen next with any high degree of certainty, but we can prepare for whatever does hit us,
This book provides a framework and methodology to assist organizations as they transition into this the Age of Uncertainty and includes interviews with noted subject matter experts as well as case studies (from organizations across the globe) on best and emerging organizational practices. It is not positioned as the “ultimate answer” as, in keeping with a central theme of the book, solutions and responses must adapt to what will be an ever-changing organizational, competitive, and economic landscape.
The basic book premise is that, and with the goal of continuous synchronization with the external environment (or Internal/External Alignment) organizations must transform and integrate the following components of the organizational ecosystem:
· Strategy Management
· Corporate Risk Management
· Organizational Structures and Competencies
· Internal and external Working Relationships
· Technological Underpinnings
· Advanced Data Analytics and Learning
· Circular economy
· Organizational resilience
While also considering external factors, most notably Economic Movements and Environmental/Health concerns.
Such is the speed of change these days, organizations must be constantly monitoring the external environment for early detection of events that might have a negative impact on the enterprise. They must develop the internal capabilities to respond quickly and appropriately to such intelligence.
– Strategy Management can no longer be a linear, sequential, process, but dynamic and holistic.
– Organizational structures must move away from their functional set-ups, while still delivering that specific expertise. End-to-End Process Management must replace the adherence to the convention that one function completes one part of the customer value chain and then hands over to another to do their bit – and then having little, or no further involvement.
– Internal working relationships must fundamentally shift from being based on “command and control” principles and be more adult-based and collaborative, Organizations must source required expertise and input from wherever it is to be found – and from whatever “level” of the hierarchy. The manager does not always know best. The employer-employee and manager-staff contracts must be redrawn.
– External working relationships must become more partner-based, as each stakeholder in the partnership works together to discover mutual benefits, while also delivering to their own agenda: be they customers, suppliers or whatever stakeholders own a “stake” in the solution,
– Working with competitors (co-opetition) in areas where mutual benefits can be secured (and without losing sight of the broader competitive position) must be part of this equation, wherein collaborating is more effective than competing. The notion that there are enough fish for everyone to eat, removing the temptation of greed and corporate egocentrism.
– Transparency and honesty must also become the norm in all internal and external relationships.
– The power now available through the breath-taking advancements in technology must be more joined-up – enabling cross-enterprise support rather than function-specific solutions. Technology must be deployed to synchronize strategy, structures, and internal/external working relationships.
– Advanced Data Analytics provide organizations with the capabilities to quickly analyse, and make sense of, large amounts of data, and from various, sources. Organizations must utilize this capability with the intent of providing the intelligence, insights and decision-making support required to continually synchronize the internal organization with the external environment.
Internal/external alignment will offer significant competitive advantage, and for many will be a necessity for survival.
This Book Premises is the basis for a detailed synopsis which will be basis for the book.
As the book evolves, a series of questions will be posed to the Linkedin Community to capture the insights of others (which will be fully acknowledged).