At the end of 2012, Mindshop (www.mindshop.com) conducted a global survey of business leaders involved in various business programs and groups across the Mindshop network in Australia, NZ, UK and the USA.
The survey highlighted that for many business leaders, managing growth is the critical issue for 2013. This was followed closely by maintaining profitability and ensuring that strategy implementation is effective.
The key insights gleaned from the survey are:
1. Understanding emerging customer trends is critical to business growth
The biggest opportunity for Business Leaders in 2013 is growing existing and new markets. Having a clear understanding of emerging customer trends, reshaping products and services and having an engaged team to help drive new strategy will help in growing your business. Leaders also need to review their business models and ensure that their model is capable of addressing these new opportunities.
2. ‘Change’ is the new normal for business
These days, the ‘new normal’ for businesses is that change is constant. Therefore, this requires a different mindset as a leader to focus on the things you can change (internal locus of control) and not be distracted by the things you cannot (external locus of control).
At the same time, many businesses are becoming “change weary” and this needs to be managed. Ensuring Project Teams are adequately resourced and that Leaders have the time and energy to juggle competing priorities is critical.
3. Don’t put more business through an incapable system
Growth is a great opportunity, but too many leaders try and push “more“ through an incapable system. This is a recipe for disaster that leads to lower profits, poor quality and service and an unhappy team and shareholders.
As economic conditions continue to stabilize it’s important to focus on continuous improvement and driving efficiency. Completing an annual ‘waste audit’ on the business (or your division/department) will ensure a healthy focus on profit improvement and efficiency.
While as a business leader, creating a simple ‘stop doing’ list can help to re-prioritise and focus your activities. For actions that you must “stop doing” there are 4 generic options:
A. delegate (internal),
B. outsource (external),
C. cease the action or,
D. re-engineer it to be much more efficient (and take less of your time)
4. Adapting to a changing business environment
The current business environment is rapidly changing. There are massive movements in: demand, technology, consumer behaviors, marketing, products, services and business models.
Most businesses are still locked into long term (5 Year) planning cycles, when in reality plans should be reviewed on a regular basis (at least annually) and the business leadership should be involved in regular “Blue Sky” Planning Days to evaluate changing trends and map an appropriate response, if required.
5. Leveraging your team to implement change effectively
Increased accountability and communication is required internally to help team members stay focused on key priorities. Instead of attempting to engage your entire team, focus on the top 25% of performers. Provide them with common problem solving and strategy development tools so that they can be constantly refining and improving processes while staying on track with the overall direction of the business. Business Leaders need to continuously develop their own skills and have high energy levels to ensure they lead by example. Walk the talk at all times.
2013 will be an exciting time for many business leaders as they grapple with the complex issues of managing growth, maintain profitability and ensuring that strategies are being implemented effectively. There are no surprises here as a number of business leaders have been addressing these challenges over the last few years with great success. The challenge in 2013 is that “growth” has risen to the No. 1 position as post-GFC opportunities start to emerge.
How is your business positioned to take advantage of new opportunities? I look forward to hearing from you.