Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change.” While that’s true in life, it’s also true in business. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for sudden, disruptive change because it can come when you least expect it.
Coming out of the turbulence of the past year, what can leaders expect from 2021? Aside from more confusion and uncertainty, change is one of the things you can expect.
Everyone is going to look toward their leaders to set the tone for 2021.
Leadership Will be More Important Than Ever
Whether you’re bringing people back into the office or extending your remote work plans, everyone’s counting on you to make sense of all the chaos. Everyone is going to look toward their leaders to set the tone for 2021. You’re going to be reinvigorating your team and keeping them motivated. Creating new policies to keep everyone safe is essential, as is making sure everyone’s clear on the changes.
It’s also a good time to check in with each team member and talk about goals — their goals and your own. Create milestones to make sure you’re on the same page and capable of supporting individual and company objectives.
Bold Action Paves the Way Forward
For some businesses, COVID-19 was devastating. In late 2020, data suggested that somewhere around 60% of businesses that closed during the pandemic were never opening their doors again. That might make some leaders feel like this is the time to play it safe. But if history is any kind of indicator, fortune favors the bold.
Thinking back to the Great Recession, Harvard Business Review notes that companies that made acquisitions recovered faster and outperformed businesses that didn't. Forging ahead, creating new paths forward and not being afraid to make big moves to build the business — being proactive instead of reactive is what effective leaders are doing to pursue growth and move forward.
Prioritizing New Products and Services to Meet Customers' Evolved Needs
The pandemic didn’t just shift the business landscape. It also created a shift in what consumers are looking for. As a leader, it’s up to you to meet the demand with innovation. Research from McKinsey & Company reveals that around 73% of consumers in the U.S. will likely continue the shopping behaviors they adopted during the pandemic. That means plenty of ecommerce and increased expectations that businesses will prioritize health and safety of their customers and clients, offer
The Time for Transformation is Now
If you haven’t already made the move, the time has come. Embrace transformation of all kinds. It’s the key to being agile and being able to quickly respond to future events. The fallout from the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and innovation across all sectors around the globe. For example, the businesses that were able to respond fastest after COVID-19 struck were those that had already gone digital, at least in part.
That ability to pivot should be at the heart of how leaders approach work on a go-forth. Leaders should look toward remaining open to new ways of doing things, enhancing business models and supporting employees as they develop new skills to thrive in a changing environment.