Navigating your business through uncertain digital waters
One of the biggest challenges for today’s business leaders is dealing with all the uncertainties and disruptions in both society at large and more particularly in the fast-paced digital transformation happening globally.
Successfully navigating through these will determine whether a business will come out on top as a leader of the digital age or fall behind the rapid pace of innovation that we’re likely to continue seeing.
In this article, we’d like to take you through 6 tips and considerations that will help you fall into that former group of winning businesses. Let’s get started.
Responsible data management
Since data is the most valuable digital asset, responsible management of this data is one of the key responsibilities of successful digital business leaders. This requires a tactful balance between customer-centricity, your own company goals and objectives, and any privacy and data protection regulations that affect your industry.
Balancing empathy with company goals and visions
The previous point focused on balancing company objectives with empathy for your customers, but it’s equally important to have empathy for your own employees – after all, they’ll have been the ones interacting and empathizing with your customers.
In the current uncertain age of the great resignation, it’s more important than ever to have a company culture which prioritizes a good employee experience. Make sure to also incorporate that mentality into all your HR processes and communicate the commitment to prospective employees, as this has become one of the key differentiators for job seekers according to IBM.
Managing burnout of both employees and yourself
A major part of employee well-being is managing – or, better yet, altogether preventing – burnout of employees. A motivating, psychologically safe environment is a prerequisite for reducing or eliminating the risk of burnout.
However, an even more, if not the most important factor is likely the sense of meaning or purpose in one’s work, which will often be closely tied to your company’s mission and values, as well as more specifically to the types of projects an employee will be involved in.
Another essential element is a culture which encourages healthy cooperation and exchange of ideas, where the team spirit is emphasized (but not forced on employees) and there are plenty of opportunities for various team building activities – which demands extra considerations in the era of remote / hybrid work.
Still, as a manager / leader, you can’t expect to be able to adequately manage the burnout of your employees if you are burning out yourself. Make sure to take care of your physical and mental well-being in order to best position yourself for leading your business through uncertainty and adversity.
Only by staying productive and motivated in the face of constant disruption and prolonged stress can you help your employees / team achieve the same.
Proactivity vs. reactivity
One very important challenge leaders have to keep in mind today is the need to balance proactivity with reactivity. While past eras used to prioritize being proactive, the speed of digitalization which reached new heights with the pandemic
has necessitated a more reactive approach to address all the inherent uncertainties.
The best way to go about securing this balance is to incorporate reactivity into your proactive efforts and strategies. Embracing agile planning will allow you to create more flexible, future-ready strategies and give you the freedom to lean more into either proactivity or reactivity, depending on the specific situation.
No playbook – more “winging it”
While it’s still very much possible (and necessary) to plan things out in a fast changing environment, the sheer novelty of the scope of the current technological and societal disruption means that we lack the necessary experience to confirm tried and true solutions and best practices.
During the pandemic, this lack of a playbook has largely meant that business leaders were suddenly thrown into the deep end and were forced to “wing it” in order to keep their companies in operation.
Thus, it is on those leaders and businesses who have been successfully winging it to set the standards and produce a “playbook” for others to follow. A dominant trend has been the adoption of agile strategies, which are a great fit for times of uncertainty due to their inherent iterative and flexible nature.
Strategic investments and partnerships
Strategic investments and partnerships have become an important success factor for digital transformation. Effective digitalization requires a wide range of skills and by consequence resources, which not every company can provide in house, and it often makes the most sense to find established solutions and/or processes in the form of a technology investment or a partnership with a specialized agency.
In times of crisis and uncertainty, how you make such decisions becomes even more important. With today’s fast pace of technological innovation and societal disruption, you likely won’t have as much time and resources at your disposal for forming dedicated teams or building out custom-fit solutions, especially as you'll want to keep up with changing habits and new market demands.
For most SMEs, forming partnerships with digital agencies and streamlining their technology stacks with existing technology solutions will be much more feasible than trying to reinvent the wheel or making more large-scale investments such as acquisitions.
Prolonged periods of crisis and uncertainty are bound to have negative effects on just about anyone, and business leaders are in a particularly unfavorable position of having to balance company goals with employee needs, altogether keeping the bigger picture top of mind in terms of both business and society in general.
Fortunately, having the right attitude allows leaders to leverage digitalization in order to turn disruptions to their advantage, or at least not let these disruptions devastate their business efforts. We hope this article has given you some pointers that will help you do exactly that and keep your business successful in the face of current and future uncertainties.
If you’re looking for a reliable development partner to help you digitally transform or execute your existing digital strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we’ll be happy to talk about how our developers can help you out.