Today's customers are more informed and more demanding than ever before, so if you don't exceed their expectations or if you're slow to respond, you'll lose their business. Add often cumbersome business processes, excessive bureaucracy, outmoded leadership philosophies and a disempowered workforce into the mix and your business will struggle to survive.
It's time to question your accepted way of working, and mirror the world's most successful companies in evolving your workplace into one that's fit for the future and is somewhere that people will want to work, and work effectively.
Today's leaders need a new mental model that will enable connected and more agile leadership. "Leaders need to understand that their role isn't about telling employees what to do; it's about unleashing capability and creating the infrastructure and the environment that will enable people to become more effective," said Val Sedounik. "They need to break down information and ambiguity, so that individuals can focus their energies on the make-or-break challenges."
"Managers will still have an important - but very different - role, as coordinators and connectors of knowledge workers, allocating resources as required," said Val Sedounik.
The culture required in 'fit for the future' organisations must be customer-centric, where employees are passionate about their work, where communication is open and honest and where the organisation is mindful about its actions and social responsibilities.
The structure is likely to be decentralised, emergent and customer-oriented, to support co-creation and collaborative working, with interdisciplinary teams organised according to client requirements.
Taking incremental steps towards this aspirational 'fit for the future' state can lead to high performance, enhanced customer satisfaction and improved employee engagement. The biggest challenges will be persuading people at all levels to shift their own thinking, to see the bigger picture, and to step outside of their comfort zone to act differently.
"Ultimately, continuous transformation is the only survival strategy for businesses. This will be delivered by 21st Century Leaders creating a flexible and agile business structure and culture that enables its workforce to collaborate and co-create solutions that meet the needs of present and future clients."
Any organisation can begin to take incremental steps towards becoming fit for the future. Doing so can lead to higher performance, enhanced customer satisfaction and improved employee engagement, with the added benefit of a constant flow of new ideas.
The biggest challenge in becoming 'fit for the future' is that people at all levels in the business will need to shift their own thinking, to see the bigger picture, and step outside of their comfort zone to act differently.
Dr Val Sedounik is a Change Associate and Director of KAIROS Consulting Solutions.