We are on the verge of a revolution that will take the impact of the internet and multiply it, creating changes like we have never seen before. Within a decade, 500 million cars, refrigerators, phones, robots and other devices will communicate online.
New technologies will bring benefits for our health, safer communities, an increase in global well-being, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
The ability to reinvent not only your business, but also yourself, is the most important skill in the digital age. It doesn’t matter if you are driving a 2-person company or 200,000: you must be fast, flexible and always one step ahead of others.
The mentality to be adopted to be successful as a leader
Over the past 20 years, many tech giants who once dominated their target market have collapsed. Companies that seemed untouchable have failed because they have been unable to follow the wave of change. They have continued to follow the same strategy for too long, convinced that they cannot be wrong.
No company, organization or person will be immune from the transformation that will take place. When a change comes, it creates enormous possibilities, both for veterans and novices.
A shift in the market is not a threat.
It is a period of change from one state to another, where the skills needed to do your job change, when customers rely on new technologies, or when the economy changes its model. It can happen on its own, or be part of a bigger trend. What matters is that we recognize it as a reality and an opportunity.
Those who ignore the changes, or who spend a lot of money trying to avoid the changes, don’t get very far. The ability to recognize change, and to understand what it will look like in 3, 5 or 10 years, and to act accordingly, is what makes the difference.
The era of digitalization represents an unprecedented turning point. The individual trends may seem familiar: artificial intelligence, Big Data, virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, digital security. Put together, they will drastically change our world. If we don’t follow the wave, there is a risk that companies, sectors and even entire countries will fall behind.
As a leader, it is important that our way of working is in line with this idea of change. From the management model we use, to the team of managers we select, to our relationship with customers, every aspect of our leadership serves to ensure that our company does not fall victim to the changes that, sooner or later, will surely happen.
It is essential to know how to get out of your comfort zone, because a winning strategy today will not necessarily be successful tomorrow. We must continually analyze what is happening around us, from the choices of our customers to those of companies in our sector.
With this information, we must try to predict what the changes will be in the market, and what the situation could be in 3, 5 or even 10 years.
Let’s start from our goal: what does success mean to us? We must have a clear idea of what we are trying to achieve, and visualize our situation once we have reached the finish line.
Like in a chess game, we have to play the whole game in our mind even before we make the first move. An excellent technique for concretely visualizing the achievement of a goal is to write the press release that we will publish even before starting to act.
Our team is a fundamental part for success, so we must make sure that, at all times, the right people are not only updated with regards to planning and strategies, but also that they are aligned with the culture and values of the company.
We can consider our customers as a strong ally when it comes to strategy. It is precisely the customers that we must observe to understand when our strategy must change, and if we do not establish a relationship of trust with them, we risk losing them because we have not been able to give them what they needed.
Not every project is successful, and that’s part of the game. For each successful plan, there are others that, for one reason or another, have not been successful. When it becomes clear that a goal can no longer be pursued, one must have the courage to let it go, concentrating its resources on other goals.
The only way to be ready to face an obstacle is to foresee it from the beginning. So, in addition to predicting a successful scenario in detail, it is always advisable to predict what we will do in the worst case scenario.
Above all, we must remember that our corporate culture and purpose will always show us the right thing to do.
The guide to being a successful company
The mission of a company is one of the elements that characterizes it, and must be defined according to its strengths, but must take into consideration the needs of customers, in addition to the impact that the company can have on the market, and more in general on the world.
It is important to develop and maintain a strong awareness of the environment in which we operate, and to do this we must observe our competitors, studying their choices, but always considering them in the context of market changes.
If we see that the market is showing signs of change, we must try to anticipate competition, and make our move before the market moves. This is a key moment in our strategy, because if we move late, we risk not only someone coming before us, but also not having time to adapt to this new paradigm, with potentially disastrous consequences.
However, we must be equally careful not to interpret the characteristic fluctuations of the market as signs of great change, otherwise we risk expanding in a sector where there is no demand, wasting precious resources.
A very important moment in many large companies is that of acquisitions. These operations must be an opportunity for both companies, and it is essential that a leader be able to identify which are the right activities to acquire. First of all we must look for innovative companies, but we must make sure that they adapt to our corporate culture.
As far as we can prepare and plan, moments of crisis will come. Sometimes they will be caused by internal factors, other times by the market, but it is an inevitable moment in the life of any business. When a crisis arises, the most important thing we can do is keep calm.
The greatest leaders in the world, however different approaches they may have, have this in common: the bigger the crisis, the more they remain calm.