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The Future of Business: will you be left behind?

By Pat Lynes 11/9/2018

 

This June marked Sullivan & Stanley’s inaugural Future Business summit, which was inspired by the looming challenge of transformation and the pressures our clients face to keep up with this fast-paced world.

The event drew a crowd of over 100 senior executives and interim change agents, showcasing world-class speakers who unveiled what it actually takes to move towards a future business.

The experts in attendance were in agreement that new ways to change and transform were urgently needed in order to cope with the complexity of the new world.

On average, I meet with around three businesses a week, most of which are unprepared for the future. And those who neither anticipate it nor take the necessary measures will be hit the hardest.

The reality is, transformation is incredibly hard. If it were easy, everyone would already be successfully transforming.


The business graveyard

The future is coming to disrupt your customer base, your revenue streams, your most carefully crafted strategies and, perhaps even, your career.It has been a tumultuous year: Toys R Us, Maplin, MotherCare and Carillion all failed at these hurdles and suffered fatal results. The Guardian recently reported that a fifth of UK high street retailers aim to cut staff in the next three months.

But casting our eyes back further, it has actually been a tumultuous 20 years, demonstrated by the collapse of giants Blockbuster and Kodak. The average lifespan of a FTSE 500 company has reduced from 60 years in the last century to just 18 years as of this decade. 

As we face countless threats today, it is the big tech companies that are taking the most extreme and disruptive measures. Amazon’s announcement of a venture into healthcare wiped £30 billion off that industry overnight, while Facebook is trying to deflect from its privacy violation woes by launching its own currency and bank.

Take Disney, which, despite having a market cap 25 times larger than Netflix’s ten years ago, has now been overtaken by this online streaming platform. 

Although 74 years younger than Disney, Netflix has realised and acted upon the pressures of the future of the film and entertainment industry. 

Newer, more focused and purpose-led businesses, which have no legacy and fewer politics but instead more funding and more engaged people, are becoming the new success stories - the place where the talent wants to be.

 
Growth can only occur outside of the comfort zone.

Where will the business world be in three, five, 10 years time? And what role do we all have to play in this? 

As with anything, no one can predict exactly what is around the corner. All we know is that it’s time to adapt, so that we can prepare ourselves with the best possible toolkit to ride out this uncertainty in a rapidly evolving world.
We all have a role to play in making a stand and catalysing the move to the future of business. 

The Responsive.org Manifesto stated:

“The tension between organisations optimised for predictability and the unpredictable world they inhabit has reached a breaking point.”

It is those business leaders who take the easy road of falling back on the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality who will suffer the most. 

To transform your current business into a future business, it is imperative that you decentralise, bring forth a mentality of continuous improvement into the business and strive to create a learning, collaborative environment. 

Our exec delegates who attended the debut Future Business Summit got further insight and learnings into what this transformation can look like: a more open, agile, inclusive and interactive culture which utilises the skills and knowledge of teams to deliver successful transformations.

Please get in touch if you wish to attend. We only have 5 spaces left for a 150 capacity.

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