Apart from growth and profitability, organisational resiliency and risk management represent the main challenges for executives. The cross-border pandemic exposed weaknesses in resiliency plans, against crisis and cyber risks. Challenges in business continuity plans and tools, the lack of automated business processes, and the absence of cyber risk management were very much seen at the start of the pandemic.
Digitally ready businesses were relatively faster to rebound from the crisis; however, and broadly speaking, digital transformation initiatives are lengthy and complex projects in nature, both from the technical and corporate adoption viewpoints. Looking at recovery post pandemic, executives have to be flexible and adapt to the new normal by adjusting their digital agendas in terms of priorities to respond to continuous changes in market dynamics.
Executives need to take strides at embracing a hybrid workforce model, as it is here to stay. Leadership and HR functions need to ensure they are creative in the way that they communicate and instill a corporate culture with sense of purpose and ethos for the hybrid workforce. Employee performance management systems must also transform to be outcome based, as this will ensure more subjectivity, flexibility, and productivity.
However, prior to executing a remote, hybrid work environment, digital business systems must be implemented on optimal, secure and scalable infrastructure. Cloud and SAAS might expedite the process and give room for experimentation of these new models until they mature and be fully rolled out.
Future organisations will augment human skills and knowledge with the power of platforms and, or machines. For the short to medium term, a focus on business resiliency and outcomes has to be fostered, using outcome-based employee performance systems and Business continuity, risk management tools.
It also has to be coupled immediately with information architecture in preparation to use expert systems for decision making support using machine learning. Having an agile, empathetic, and proactive organisation culture and structure will help to ensure organisations whether current and future turbulences and emerge stronger and more relevant to both their customers and changing market conditions.
The ability to adjust to the new norms, and moving away from comfort zones, are important skills to have in order to leverage the current digital evolution to its fullest, from structure, to cost, and innovation. Taking into consideration business stability and uncertainty from one angle, and existing opportunities from another angle, executives should adopt agile methodologies in building and executing their strategies.
This can happen gradually by starting small to make iterative changes, then engaging all levels and working on continuous improvement. Other key areas to focus on are digital technologies, data analytics and data driven decision making, with an understanding of the benefits and ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Top executives are no different to any other category of the workforce, and the pressures which have been faced due to the pandemic alongside regular business pressures have added to this burden and made them more vulnerable to burn out and stress. Executives can cope by investing time in their own wellness, and finding ways to de-stress and switch off, be it through exercise, diet and enjoyable activities.
On the work front, they can also cope by creating a space that allows them to evolve and learn new skills, in order to expand their horizons outside the industry they are in, which can offer them a new perspective into their own business. This can help them to do the work and enjoy it more.
CIOs focus on managing infrastructure and applications, and their role is becoming increasingly important with digital transformation, however I do not believe that much change is needed in their reporting structure. The two changes I do foresee are the CISO role, being moved into larger structures in the risk department, either combined with or reporting to the CRO.
The other is the CTO’s role which, in digitised organisations, is becoming much closer to the board of directors as it entails envisaging new products, new business models, and in many instances affects the agility of the organisation to seize new business opportunities and markets.
- Digitally ready businesses were relatively faster to rebound from the crisis.
- Digital transformation initiatives are lengthy and complex projects in nature.
- Executives have to be flexible and adapt to the new normal by adjusting digital agendas in terms of priorities.
- Taking into consideration business stability and uncertainty, executives should adopt agile methodologies.
- The ability to adjust to the new norms and moving away from comfort zones are important skills.
Looking at recovery, executives have to be flexible to the new normal by adjusting digital agendas to respond to continuous changes in market dynamics.