3 Keys to Sustain Business in the Future Society
The VUCA world - a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity is exactly what the current pandemic (COVID-19) brought to this world. The sharp decrease in the sales, rapid changes in client’s needs, and urgent restrictions on the way we work; the impact on small and mid-size businesses is extraordinary.
In order for us to survive, business ideas to tap into new revenue sources are urgently needed. Moreover, the perspectives to turn the challenges into business opportunities are required. To achieve both short and long term goals in the world of the new normal, we must:
- Nurture the "new" mindsets: a mindset of “surviving" and a mindset of "thriving", and
- Upskilling the leaders capability to prepare for the new era
However, how can we achieve that and deal with the constant and complex changes?
The keys are threefold:
1. Future-oriented Business Acumen
To cope with those foreseen challenges and receive benefit from those new changes, we need a new framework. FSSD (Frameworks for Sustainable Development)is a future oriented business framework developed by Dr. Karl-Henrik: a winner of a Blue Planet Award. It is considered as the only framework available in the world that explains the basic elements which all businesses must consider to sustain in the future society. Some of the methods used in FSSD are back-casting and the ABCD method, which allow you to build a future-oriented strategic plan. You will be able to position your business to thrive in the future by shaping new businesses from the future perspective.
The First step is to create a vision of what your business would look like in the future. Instead of focusing on just solving the current issues, back-casting allows you to unlock yourself from the limited options. Next is to analyze your current situation to identify gaps, critical issues and opportunities for change. Then, explore innovative pathways to reach the future vision. Lastly, prioritize and devise an implementation plan. By having the future vision in mind, you can prioritize projects that are realistic and will provide benefits in the short-term, while also retaining flexibility and a long-term perspective.
2. Innovative Culture
Having an innovative culture is critical to prepare for the new normal. Creative ideas are required to deal with continuous changes in all operational levels. We need to devise future plans, which are not bound by the way we used to. We also need to manage employee engagement under the new way of working; remote work, flexible working hours, an agile way of working and so on.
To make the innovation to be rooted in the organization culture, seeds of innovations must be planted by the hands of employees at all levels. This process is expedited by having practical tools available for people to use. The tools facilitate ideation processes and the tools to help people materialize ideas into practices.
3. Capability to Facilitate Change
The time and energy needed to initiate change in the organization are enormous. There are many cases where great plans and ideas were never implemented because either people were never engaged for change, organizational structure was not flexible to adapt the new plan, or corporate culture did not match with the new initiatives. This indicates it is very difficult to execute any plans unless we pay attention and understand how organization and people truly function.
And the keys to successfully bringing change are threefold:
1. Understanding two forces for change to happen
When there's no change, there is a balance between two equal forces pushing each other. The change is promoted only when the forces lose its balance. To be more specifically, the change happens when the restraining forces are eradicated and the driving forces are enforced. Kurt Lewin, who is known for Force Field Analysis said, “An issue is held in balance by the interaction of two opposing sets of forces – those seeking to promote change and those attempting to maintain the status quo.”
In order to facilitate the change, you need to analyze what are the driving forces that can bring the change in business. How can you increase that force in your organization? How about the restraining forces that hinder the change to happen. How can you decrease that force?
2. Having a holistic view on organization
Organization is like a living organism where one thing affects others and many things are linked and interconnected to each other. Hence, if we want to initiate change, we must understand all the impacts that the "change" will bring to an organization. One of the frameworks that help analyzing an organization's situation is Organizational Fit Model. This framework explains the transformative process of organization. When you look at organization from the perspective of how well different elements work together, there are four important components between input and output: a) Tasks, b) People c) Structure and d) Organizational culture. The input includes the external environment, resources and history of the organization. The output refers to performance and effectiveness at all levels of the organization. Based on this model, organisation’s performance is the result of the way these four elements work together based on the input.
With all those changes happening in the external environment currently, the tasks of most businesses are certainly changing, but how about the people who are dealing with the new tasks, or the organizational culture that has been built from the history and previous operations? To successfully execute the changes, we need to adjust people, systems and organizational culture accordingly.
3. Understand people
There are a number of organizational change management models that focus on cognitive approaches, many of which help with creating plans, processes and strategies. However, many of change initiatives using those models also often fail. Why? Because at the bottom line, it is a people who actually bring changes. Therefore, we must deeply understand people from behavioral and psychological perspectives.
When a new change is implemented, even with the logical reasons that convince, support and lead the changes in an organization, a rational person can still have difficulty wiping away the feeling of resistance. One might be attached to the traditional way of doing things, or the other may just not want to deal with the new way of doing things. Why? It is because at the root of all human behaviors, there is self-esteem. From a psychological view, it is a natural reaction for a person to feel resistance to a new thing. By having a method to tap into the deeper level of the psyche, people can find the root causes of the behaviors that are preventing change.
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