The coronavirus took us by surprise, which is a surprise. Our wish for things to go well and our belief that someone will take care of problems led us astray. Life has changed, but how? Have the basic fundamentals of successful organisations really changed? This is the first post of our blog series on building resilience, the ability to react and succeed in a rapidly changing world, focusing on customer behaviour, strategy and data capabilities as fundamentals of future winners.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, every organisation is staring at their numbers and trying to make sense of their new situation. At the same time, the market and media is flush with declarations of the new normal, tipping points & paradigm shifts. Some sectors took the hit early. Those others that haven’t yet felt the shock are trying their best to understand the changes and minimise the delayed, yet almost inevitable impact.
But has everything fundamentally and permanently changed?
Have companies and we, the employees, really changed?
We think not.
The basic fundamentals of well performing, future and human-oriented organisations have not changed. However, COVID-19 has exposed all organisations’ incumbent barriers to reaction and change. The key to survival and success is the ability to react and change. When we speak of the ability to react, change, and even pivot when needed, it is as relevant to the organisation’s strategy as it is to culture, technology and customer insight. Hence, at Solita we believe in the following fundamentals in every assignment we work on.
1. Behaviour is interesting, phenomena even more.
Observe your customer’s behaviour with a keen undying interest. Try to extend beyond behavioural patterns to see what kind of phenomena are at play, for in the murky depths of that phenomena, lie the million dollar answers to the crucial question “why”, e.g., at the moment, Zoom/Teams adoption rates are uninteresting vanity metrics. Friends and family congregating virtually to celebrate, share, and mourn, on the other hand, should catch your attention.
Mastering this approach is crucial. However, customer insight is worth less than the digital ink this blog is written in if it doesn’t fundamentally impact the way you organise your business. What does that mean? Read on.
2. Future is digital. Deal with it. Literally.
Make sure your business embraces all things digital and data. Harness the power that these tools provide and make sure they are built in a future-proof way, e.g., make sure your data practices drive new business and can be quickly readjusted to ever-changing markets.
Organisations need to take the data-driven approach to everything they do. Data is the fuel to constantly and iteratively develop oneself. That asset is readily available in abundance should one choose to look for it. This is the most difficult part as it requires a cultural change. Cultural change doesn’t happen in a few weeks. It takes time and commitment. It requires a strategy and a clear vision of what needs to be achieved, it requires courage and strength for execution to have any chance, and it requires an open mind and understanding of both technology and human behaviour to be possible.
3. Your strategy cycle is short and driven by experimentation.
Don’t plan three years ahead. Every single strategy document has met the shredder in the past two months. Embrace the fact that the future is uncertain, and make sure your strategy is geared to reflect that uncertainty. Experiment, adjust, execute. Rinse and repeat.
None of this is new. Most of it is difficult.
To contribute to this journey, we invite you to look out for our upcoming series of articles on creating the modern organisation, choosing flexible tools and setting up agile architectures through which evolving and creating new-lasting change is possible.
To make sure that something good came out of this crisis.
To make sure that some things did change, but only because we lean on the fundamentals that didn’t.
This blog series raises key areas for building resilience. Read also other posts: Who is in control of the most valuable future asset of your company, Strategies’ direst straits – steps to resilient and adaptive strategy, How to build a portfolio for resilience and adaptive strategy and Data science and AI investments – How to increase business value and enhance change resilience?
Watch the event recording and hear the latest insights from our customers KONE, OP Financial Group, Finnish Church Aid, Telia and Kalmar and how they have embraced change.