We must be constantly questioning ourselves. There is no standing still. Either we go backwards or forwards.
Dr. Amel Karboul
Every day I come across something in the business press about at least one company, one product or a single trend that has transformed the market or an entire industry. Perhaps you too have observed the trend for changes to occur ever more rapidly, more frequently, more sweepingly and with ever more far-reaching consequences.
These leaps forward in development – these fast-paced and unforeseeable changes in the economy and society – have consequences for companies. Many traditional industry giants have been brought to their knees and to insolvency. Not because the management didn’t know their business. They had done their market research, developed strategies and carried out thorough planning. But they had not been flexible and had not acted with sufficient agility. They had not taken into account the fact that the surprises that we read about every day could affect them too.
So much for the problem. Now for the solution. To start with, evaluating yet more big data, carrying out more planning, and optimizing everything in the enterprise right down to the very last adjusting screw is not the solution. Reacting to market uncertainties by increasing knowledge, planning, monitoring and yet more optimisation measures constitutes a safety belt that in an emergency can suddenly turn out to be a shackle.
So what is the solution? Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, taking the path which is necessary rather than comfortable, and thereby acting with agility such that you engage withthe situations and circumstances which have changed. The decisive factor is not when and how you are hit by surprises, but rather how you deal with them. The question is whether you can take advantage of such surprises, or whether you manage to understand the game, get involved and actively shape the game to your advantage.
The goal is excellence instead of mediocrity. Enjoyment rather than tedium – without making any compromises. My job as a manager, consultant or board member is to make what is invisible visible. Many challenges and pitfalls will thereby be satisfyingly solved right from the outset. At the same time, the next steps to be taken become clearer and more transparent. It is generally not a matter of processes, rather it is the way managers and employees conduct themselves that needs to change so that the company to can in turn change in the medium term. Both managers and employees are usually equally surprised when they see that a huge amount can be achieved by making minimal changes.
The central questions with respect to changes in the economic environment are:
- How can I best prepare my company or my organisation for unexpected changes?
- What kind of approach should I set for my company? If necessary, how should I change my leadership style?
- What is the best way to integrate my colleagues into this process?
- How do I implement change within my company in a humane, effective and sustainable manner?
- How do I manage change in the midst of upheaval in the most effective way?