For the majority of business leaders, 2020 has proved a difficult year for prioritizing capabilities, as many organizations try to comprehend what the post-pandemic business environment might look like in the year ahead.
This new world of work will not allow for any complacency or nostalgia. Leaders need to prepare their organizations for ongoing uncertainty, disruptions, and constant change.
Emerging research from the IBM Institute for Business Value anticipates a huge shift in prioritization over the next two years. Integrating results from multiple proprietary surveys of consumers and executives between April and August 2020, the report illustrates that business leaders’ needs for speed and flexibility are shown to have been amplified dramatically over the last 6 months.
Old barriers are being brushed aside under the pressure of unrelenting disruption, rapidly evolving customer expectations, and an unprecedented pace of change.
The research highlights key discoveries for the post-pandemic business landscape, offering new perspectives on digital transformation, the future of work, transparency, and sustainability.
1. Digital Transformation
The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation at 59% of organizations, accelerated by a culture shift aimed at reducing costs and remaining resilient. This is something we’ve noticed at Talmix – a number of our clients have been adjusting their approach to change management, investing in AI and IoT, or shifting to more cloud-based business activities – businesses are looking for the right talent oversee transformation initiatives, understanding that the people behind transformation need to be as capable and agile as their technologies.
2. Internal Objectives Grab the Spotlight
According to the report, corporate priorities are now much more focused on crisis management, workplace safety and security, with cash-flow and liquidity management expected to remain a critical priority over the next 12 months.
Again, this is something that we’ve noticed here at Talmix - supply-chain resiliency has been of particular importance, with many of our clients looking to our network for spare capacity to weather future crises, a move away from just-in-time-delivery goals.
3. Agility is the Key to Success
The pandemic has not impacted all organizations and industries equally. This situation mirrors a “K-shaped” environment, where some businesses thrive and others struggle.
Yet agility and flexibility have become the key characteristics for success, both for “winning” sectors and those that have been more severely disrupted. 87 percent of executives now plan to prioritize enterprise agility over the next two years. Organizations that can operate with agility have been the ones to remain steady (in a troubled sector) or outperform. According to the report, “the melding of size and flexibility is the defining characteristic of those poised for success”.
The research all leads to an important mandate for organizations - navigate the new environment and react in real time to stay ahead of curve and competition.
Yet whether that path is laid through inspirational leadership, supply chain resiliency, AI adoption or improved operational scalability and flexibility, it all points to one crucial building block along the way – the talent required to ensure success.
Leading organizations will have to make tough resource allocation decisions across teams quickly and ruthlessly if required, to always bring the right voices into the room, fill demand spikes, and assemble and disassemble cross-functional teams quickly according to shifting priorities.
2021 will be about introducing more variability and agility into your business and hiring processes. The time to act is now.