New study: Strategic uncertainty after the pandemic
Working life will probably never be quite the same again after the pandemic. To be able to stand strong in the future, flexible and robust companies are required, according to a recent study.
In retrospect, the transition from office to home work during the pandemic went surprisingly smoothly. A study by telecom giant Verizon shows that 70 percent of employees surveyed felt they were more efficient when working from home. A majority of managers also felt better equipped to make quick and strategic decisions and introduce new technology as a result of the new order in the labor market.
Although the pandemic situation is currently less acute than before, instead a sense of strategic uncertainty has begun to emerge. Two-thirds of business leaders, 66 percent, claim that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in their strategy, while 60 percent say they are struggling to find a clear approach to new market opportunities.
– The uncertainty is not surprising. Most business leaders did not see the pandemic coming, which affects people’s confidence. But the answer is not to eliminate uncertainty – if that were even possible. Instead, business leaders must build robust organizations that can adapt to deal with shocks and surprises, says entrepreneur, CEO and management professor Margaret Heffernan, in the report.
“Many companies are blissfully unaware”
Technology is essential to building resilience in an organization that can not only take hits, but thrive and come back even stronger. Cloud-based solutions have been instrumental in enabling businesses to quickly become more flexible – whether they want to seize an opportunity or face a threat.
Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School, believes that business leaders must ask themselves a number of questions about how technology supports the customer experience:
– Where does this technology improve the experience for customers – and where does it not? The problem is that many companies implement technology through poorly designed systems, and while technology can offer efficiencies, companies often focus mostly on cost savings.
Negative experiences, such as prolonged support calls and inconvenient call handling, can eat away at customer loyalty.
– Many companies are blissfully unaware of the frustration they cause their customers. Here I think companies are simply making misjudgments. They don’t even know when they’ve lost a customer, says Rita McGrath.
Companies face challenges that include new consumer behaviour, skills shortages and changing expectations from employees. Added to this are ecological changes, new political guidelines and the ever-increasing rate of technological innovation.
Instead of burying their heads in the sand, Rita McGrath believes that leaders must overcome inertia and accelerate the pace of transformation in their organizations. That way they can define the future instead of waiting for the future to define them.
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The article is produced by Brand Studio in collaboration with Verizon and not an article by Dagens industri