The Skills You Need to Conquer the Management and Leadership Challenges Ahead
There are a number of significant changes facing UK businesses that will have a huge effect on how they are organised and operate. Management and leadership challenges range from digital transformation through regulatory change to the ambiguity of Brexit. in all these instances leaders need to be able to make decisions while facing uncertainty and flux.
Failure to make decisions leads to organisational death, whilst making strong, informed decisions leads to resilience and competitive advantage. It is imperative that
organisations help their employees adjust to ever-changing situations, which for many will be a new way of working. We need our leaders, whether they are team leaders, department heads, company directors or CEOs, to have a strong strategic understanding of the trading environment, a clear vision and the confidence to make decisions in the face of large-scale changes.
So what are the main management and leadership challenges?
Forrester predicts 50% of revenue will come from digital by 2020 services. As such, we will see the introduction of new online customer service channels, the automation of manual tasks as more artificial intelligence is adopted, and more adaptable supply chains.
To reap the benefits, many businesses will have to restructure their networks, systems and processes so they are more agile, and can create more value from the vast amounts of customer data this digital revolution will bring.
Such change can be painful as people adjust to new ways of working including how they perform their role and the systems they use to do it. Strong leadership will be essential to paint a consistent vision of the future and the opportunities transformation will bring the company and individuals, as well as ensure the right competencies, skills and behaviours are in place to be productive.
Leaders should also be wise to the fact that their competitors are also transforming and competition could come from unexpected places. Strategic thinking and agility will be vital.
Regulations driving change (General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR))
The reliance on extraordinary amounts of personal information to create more business value and the move to online services brings risk of security breaches.
In October 2016, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined TalkTalk a record £400,000 following a cyber-attack in 2015 in which over 150,000 customer details were compromised, including the financial data of over 15,000 customers. The ICO found that:
“TalkTalk should and could have done more to safeguard its customer information.”
This has generated demand for greater governance and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a response to this. It comes into force in May 2018 and is already changing the way many organisations collect and store data. Indeed it will require a huge cultural shift in some organisations as they seek to ensure processes are upheld, the costs of managing requests for personal details from the public don’t spiral out of control, and reputational damage is avoided. Fines will be heftier once GDPR comes in and TalkTalk’s penalty serves as a warning to all leaders to get their house in order.
As organisations grapple with how they can transform themselves to better serve the customer, so they must also manage the consequences of Brexit. Although we don’t know the specifics we can expect changes to the regulatory and trading environments and labour markets. Some bring opportunity, others risk.
Brexit is an example of transformation on a huge scale and it will affect almost every organisation to some degree. But transformational change is all around us as organisations buffetted by the winds of change seek new ways to meet their customer’s needs. Leading organisational transformation is one of the biggest leadership challenges. Being able to inspire confidence, even when the facts aren’t know, and keep people motivated to plan for the future will be vital for survival.
Increasing pressure of profit margins
The current economic climate is certainly putting pressure on revenue and profit. Increased business rates, the fluctuating value of the pound, rising wages and waning consumer confidence are all contributing factors. Companies likely to succeed are those willing to adapt accordingly. This will require business acumen a skill that can be hard to acquire. Leaders will need to appraise their ability to judge situations, make insightful decisions, innovate and be bold, and crucially take others with them so everyone is united in their goals.
Conclusion: How can organisations prepare?
At the 2018 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Jack Ma, founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, spoke about educating for the future. “The knowledge-based approach of “200 years ago”, would “fail our kids”, who would never be able to compete with machines. Children should be taught “soft skills” like independent thinking, values and team-work, he said.” (26 Jan 2018)
Organisations, therefore, need strong, confident and inspirational leaders. They need people who can set out a clear vision even when everything is uncertain, inspire the team to follow them, make shrewd business decisions and be self-aware. They need individuals with the skills t deal with the leadership challenges we face today. These individuals need to be surrounded by others with a wide range of sills, together capable of driving the organisation forward.
Management games and business simulations are a proven way to assess the competencies an organisation has and identify the gaps. Simulations allow people to demonstrate their skills in a safe way. They challenge thinking and invite people to innovate. When used alongside other tools like psychometrics that reveal people’s traits, they give a rounded picture of a person’s strengths and development needs.
What’s more, simulations allow individuals to experience the leadership challenges that have not yet encountered during their day-to-day activities. This helps to build resilience and prepares people for the future. At such a time of change this way of learning leadership and management skill is invaluable.
To find out more about how Business Simulation Games can help your organisation with leadership and management skill read our whitepaper Experiential Learning: Why Learning by Doing Builds Agile, Supportive Organisations.
You can also watch our 2-minute video to find out what we do.