The thing on every leader’s mind today is: managing change and disruption.
Disruption: the struggle is real
Organisations today are struggling with digital transformation, and we are all learning along the way. Yet the pace of change constantly threatens to overtake the pace of learning and adapting.
We feel like we are all trying to catch our breath. Businesses and retail stores around the world are closing, as online shopping has taken over the market. CEOs lose sleep over how to keep their business relevant in the next year. Employees are worried about losing their jobs, while leaders are trying to get their staff ready for the future.
In companies big and small, the pressure of keeping up can drown the sense of excitement of the dreams, the plans, and the vision for the future.
Reviving the vision
Amid all this scrambling for survival, it is important to stay connected to the spirit of innovation, courage, and purpose. It is our job as leaders to keep our people motivated and inspired. While we get them ready and on track for the hard work, we need to keep the vision alive.
As leaders, our responsibility is to take ownership of what has been entrusted to us—our families, our communities, our workplaces, our businesses. We need to ask the right questions. Beyond asking how do we survive change, we ask:
What can I do in my community to spread digital education? What can our business do to serve customers better through technology? How can we use our expertise to solve problems in new ways? We need to lead change, not just react to it.
Relevance through learning
Some jobs today will no longer be relevant in the future. But if your staff are constantly upgrading their capabilities through learning, they can stay relevant even if the job role changes. Encourage your staff to keep learning. Set programs in place to allow them to acquire new skills and knowledge.
Engineers not too long ago were rock stars in the workforce. Today, we see a huge shift. Except in Silicon Valley where this profession continues to be celebrated and valued, most engineers across the globe have departed from the trade. The landscape of businesses and demand for services have evolved, as evidenced by radical changes in the telecommunications and transportation industries.
With widely available and free communication tools like whatsapp, viber, wechat, there is much less need for traditional services. The public transportation sector is challenged by disruptive players such as Uber and Grab.
Focus and foresight
To be future-ready, we must lose fear, and lead with focus and foresight. Using Singapore as an example, our nation tested ideas that others deemed crazy. Singapore built a significant portion of the city area over reclaimed land in anticipation of the growth and future we now enjoy.
Being future-ready is about being able to build on what we have, meet the needs of today, and position ourselves to meet the demands and solve the problems of tomorrow. We are a nation blessed with innovators, researchers, and implementors. We must continue to walk in integrity, gratitude, and humility.
The tide has changed and the tide will continue to change. Let’s enjoy the ride!