Adapt to survive
This year’s World Economic Forum focused on what nations can do to effect a “great transformation” in their economies. The same challenge now faces business leaders, who are increasingly discovering that successful transformation depends on agility and adaptability.
The task of developing greater economic and social sustainability is not merely one for politicians, economists and academics. Businesses have a vital role to play in bringing about this great transformation by tackling their own market challenges head on and striving to create the growth that will eventually translate into enhanced economic confidence.
Circumstantial evidence suggests that many businesses are beginning to turn their attention toward such transformation. In its recent survey of more than 700 leading businesses in 15 countries, Turn risks and opportunities into results, Ernst & Young found that businesses are increasingly looking for ways they can directly influence their future growth.
"In uncertain times, most organizations opt for sameness. Not the best ones, however. They realize that in order to survive, you must continuously reinvent yourself".Jonas Ridderstråle
Co-author of Funky business forever
Respondents cited “improving execution of strategy across business functions” as the biggest business opportunity on the horizon for 2013, closely followed by “investing in process, tools and training to achieve greater productivity.” More traditional routes to growth, such as capitalizing on emerging market demand and mergers and acquisitions, were placed only fifth and ninth respectively.
Jonas Ridderstråle, co-author of Funky business forever, agrees that traditional strategies are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the modern business environment. In the past decade, he explains, businesses have become too concerned with processes such as outsourcing, offshoring and benchmarking.
This narrow focus can be dangerous. “In uncertain times, most organizations opt for sameness. Not the best ones, however. They realize that, in order to survive, you must continuously reinvent yourself.”
Businesses that are completely rigid with regard to their strategy run the risk of making themselves rigid organizations. To achieve growth in volatile markets, they must be agile, which means spotting emerging trends early and responding effectively.
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