How to keep up with a constantly changing marketplace

  • Attila Ovari enjoying a Cuppa at Oliver's Real food in Goulburn on his way home to Canberra from SydneyHave you noticed that the marketplace is constantly changing?
  • Is the framework of your organisation flexible enough to meet this changing marketplace?
  • Is your organisational culture flexible enough to meet this changing marketplace?

Many organisations understand that the market place and environment that they operate in is changing. In many situations that change is happening very rapidly. How many times have you heard someone say “hopefully things will settle down after….”. Unfortunately this is not going to happen, the market place and environment is changing and it will continue to do so rapidly.

  • So what can your organisation do about all this change?
  • What can you as a leader do about all this change?

Firstly, accept that change is going to happen and that it is going to be rapid. Second, as a leader in an organisation much of the change is going to be experienced at the root level. Your staff that deal directly with your customer is going to know what the customer is wanting today. Your staff that work with your client are quite often going to hear about many of the changes first.

Many established organisations as they grow have developed a large number of policies and procedures, along with a bureaucracy. Many organisations will also develop a corporate services areas with back office departments like finance, marketing, information technology and research and development. This all adds costs to the product and service.

Do not get me wrong, these roles are all very important for the successful operation of an organisation. All I am saying is that these areas may need to be looked at in terms of an organisational framework in a changing marketplace and environment. There may need to be more flexibility in the organisational framework in a changing marketplace.

One organisation I worked for have a fixed fee for corporate services as a percentage of revenue. That also meant that when looking at opportunities for growth, the organisation had priced itself out of the market as the corporate services fee included several services that were not required in the new market. Can you relate to that?

Where I have seen success in terms of the corporate services, back office type services, is where they corporate services see the organisation’s front of house as their customer. They focus on working with the front of house in streamlining their process and supporting a good outcome in terms of customer service.

Then there is the organisational culture. Many organisations today still operate top down. The CEO says what is going to happen and this is carried out throughout the organisation. This sort of culture will fail in the current ever changing marketplace. Just simply because the CEO is not going to have all the facts and all the ideas.

The solution is collaboration. Everyone working together for the same vision and everyone having input into how we get there. Does this sound airy fairy to you? I know that it sounds impossible for everyone to have their say in a large organisation. Well I disagree. I believe that if the leadership of an organisation is focussed on what is good for the organisation then they are going to involve their teams in the plans and discussions.

I think that the leadership of an organisation need to be open to honest feedback and to go out and seek the advice of their teams. A leader that is not afraid to be challenged and is willing to accept honest advice from their team will also earn the respect of their team. It does not always mean that you will follow through with the ideas, but honestly consider them.

I remember years ago in my first command role in the army reserve, I was responsible for the maintenance of a number of vehicles, including 4WDs, medium rigid trucks, heavy rigid trucks, semi trailers and plant for road building. I had a problem with maintenance not being keep up. In discussion with workshops and my staff they came up with an idea. I did not even believe the idea would work, but it is all we had. So I supported the idea and it ended up being more successful than people had imagined. Be open to feedback and seek advice of your team.

So in concluding this article, I recommend that all organisations and all leaders do three things to ensure that their organisation not just survives, but thrives in a changing marketplace:

  • Firstly, accept that change is going to be consistent and rapid.
  • Secondly, ensure that the organisational framework is flexible and services the needs of the client.
  • Thirdly, develop a culture that encourages honest feedback from staff and that the leaders seek regular advice from their teams.

 

First Published on LinkedIn on the 05 February 2016

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