Since Brexit completed in January 2020 and the global lockdown of March 2020, executives throughout the UK have faced an ever-changing trading and working environment. Some could not have envisaged the scale of the advantages, while others experienced quite the opposite. Having lived through such a turbulent trading and working environment for nearly three years, what should executives focus on in 2023? How should they prepare their organisations and engage with clients for the coming year?
Strategy teams and external advisers will have reviewed: past performance, trading conditions and economic forecasts, then created scenarios for executives to consider. Executives and leaders must face the challenge of maintaining the gains or completing the critical activities that have emerged in the past three years. These extremes create turbulence in the employment pool; some are aiming to benefit while others are searching for stability. Every sector is experiencing recruitment and retention difficulties. Employers must have a clear plan for the organisation beyond the next two or three years if they are to attract the right people.
This scale of disruption is unprecedented in our 50 years of experience as advisors. When chaos ensues, leadership and management competence come to the fore. Military history has shown time and again that training and processes will get you through the difficult scenarios. However, public and private sector organisations achieve economic stability by satisfying customer demand and with market forces being so disrupted, decisions must be owned by the business leaders. Executives require a deep understanding of the business and market; they should be supported, not led, by external experts.
The leadership needs to exude confidence in the decisions it has made. They need the competence to articulate the plan they want to achieve and to be open about the challenges ahead. Some companies have a very exciting future, but others must tread a very difficult road. Regardless of your business’s outlook, it must share the leadership’s common goal and vision.
In this volatile market, whether you are reaching new heights, or struggling with survival you must constantly consider:
- What are the top three goals that everyone in the business understands?
- Do we need all the resources and are they used effectively?
- Are the working arrangements today appropriate for the business success tomorrow?
- Are change activities achievable and do they support the previous three points?
Whatever you do in 2023, it should be another building block on the superb success you have achieved or a new cornerstone for the future. There is no value in tinkering while the boat is going down and it is risky to ignore an aggressive attack on a product or service. Both ends of the spectrum are difficult to manoeuvre from, but if you are in the middle, which way do you want to go?