In an age of disruption and uncertainty – where ‘remote’, ‘virtual’ and ‘socially distanced’ have become part of our everyday lexicon, it’s important to come together to share insights and information, even if it’s only in cyberspace. With this in mind, Salesforce hosted a series of discussions with business trailblazers from around the globe.
In these virtual roundtable events, some of the world’s foremost thought-leaders traded ideas and predictions about how businesses can nurture resilience in the changing climate, why radical innovation might be the key to navigating the future, and where the ‘Never Normal’ might take us.
This edition of the Virtual Club Roundtable organised in the Maison Marcolini Atelier was led by renowned author, serial entrepreneur, lecturer, and advisor, Peter Hinssen. Hinssen is not only a renowned expert on all things digital, but he also knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity. His latest book, The Phoenix and the Unicorn, is about businesses that have reinvented themselves to triumph over crisis.
We can’t wait for our former ways of living to return: the old normal no longer exists. Uncertainty is our new reality, and we must make peace with it – or better yet, use it as a launching pad for growing more resilient.
The disruptions we’ve experienced so far are just the tip of the iceberg. More seismic shocks will occur, causing systemic shifts across many sectors. The future is in flux.
“Never waste a good crisis” is an important motto according to Peter. Companies should look at how adapting to crisis can help propel an organisation into the future. For example, Zoom is now worth more on the Stock Exchange than the seven largest airlines, while a huge increase in online sales led L’Oreal to revise its targets and turbo-charge that channel. In both cases, businesses found utility in crisis. This is key to navigating the Never Normal.
Organisations that thrive in tumultuous times are the ones that can leverage innovation to transform. These “Phoenix” companies are the trailblazers that will not only survive the crisis but thrive. For instance, Walmart introduced Pickup Towers and robot-assisted home delivery to capitalise on social-distancing measures. These solutions not only tackled the immediate challenges they were facing, but they’ll also provide useful well into the future.
To succeed in the New Normal, the Never Normal, and beyond, companies need to master a combination of five key elements: The sense of urgency, a clear vision, the right mindset, a shared direction, and execution to support it.
Companies that thrive in the current climate and beyond will be the ones that understand the value of long-term thinking and the day after tomorrow.
Velocity: The world is speeding up and businesses must accelerate to keep pace. As Mario Andretti - former racing driver - said, “If everything seems under control, you are not going fast enough”. Businesses that move too slowly in the current climate are going to get lapped by their competitors, so it’s time to step on the gas.
Agility: Analyse the environment and see how it can be optimised to help meet current and future challenges. For instance, Lego manufactured face visors for its workforce by using the same machines they use to make their toys.
Creativity: Creativity is a skill that’s transferable to nearly every aspect of a business. Thinking outside the box is paramount in the Never Normal, and organisations that are able to unleash the creative potential of their employees are the ones that will succeed in an unpredictable world.
Innovation: Take a look at your business and see which areas would benefit from innovation. See if service innovation, product innovation, marketing innovation, or model innovation can provide exciting new opportunities. Now more than ever long-standing, ultra-successful businesses must invest in innovation. Disney, for instance, launched a premium, subscription-based service to reach new customers.
Network: Learn how to use the power of networks. When Walmart needed to hire temporary workers to handle a boost in sales, they turned to Marriott, who had to furlough thousands of staff in the face of the pandemic.
Experimentation: Try, fail, learn; then do it again. You never know when a breakthrough might occur through experimentation.
The world is amorphous and no one stays in their lane anymore. Ping An, the world’s largest insurance company, has turned to fintech and health care. This is becoming more and more common and it’s important to find a leader that can flex with the company and remain open to uncertainty. Boards need to strike a balance between people talking about numbers, finance, and today’s results, and forward-thinking people who are able to see tomorrow’s strategic opportunities.
Peter Hinssen certainly provided plenty of food for thought in his virtual roundtable, and we’ll be digesting his ideas for quite a while. To catch more morsels of wisdom from extraordinary business minds, check out our Leading Through Change series, and learn how leading European companies are adapting to the “Never New Normal”.
Do not miss on part two of the roundtable where renowned chocolatier and raconteur Pierre Marcolini will be sharing some of his experiences from over 25 years as an entrepreneur, as well as what he thinks the future holds for SMEs like his own.