How trusted expert partners can accelerate business transformation and innovation
26 Jun 2023
In the dynamic landscape of 2023, a unilateral approach to business innovation doesn’t cut it anymore. Hesitation to collaborate with external partners is a luxury of the past, and the current transformation velocity makes it indispensable to ally with trusted experts.
Most enterprises are either in the midst or at the cusp of substantial change, spurred by events of the last three years. Businesses are learning to navigate the post-pandemic digital age to ensure survival and prosperity. Clinging to traditional, in-house, do-it-yourself methodologies is akin to shooting oneself in the foot today.
Why choose DIY? It’s a time-consuming process often plagued by internal skill gaps. While grappling with these constraints, you can be sure your competitors are capitalizing on external partnerships to fuel innovation at breakneck speed.
Consider the plight of your workforce, the foot soldiers weathering the storm of business transformation. It’s not just about guiding them through the change; it’s about involving them in charting the path itself. Empowering employees to co-create the journey motivates them to fulfil the company’s long-term vision. It’s about offering an authentic and compelling answer to “what’s in it for me?”. Otherwise, the drive for change may falter in the face of apathy.
Indeed, companies that have embraced collaboration over isolationist DIY strategies are reaping substantial rewards, often kickstarting this shift within their supply chains. The pandemic highlighted the necessity of such partnerships in the face of economic repercussions leading to inflation spikes and diminished faith in short-term planning.
Holistic view required
Companies that fail to adopt Integrated Business Planning (IBP) and neglect a holistic view of their business, supply chain, and a partner ecosystem are in danger of falling behind. Without leveraging data analytics and forward-thinking strategies, their survival prospects appear bleak.
This reality hasn’t eluded the business community. Little surprise Oliver Wight, a long-standing proponent of IBP, had its record year in 2022. More leaders realize the pressing need to act, with many in the fast-moving consumer goods industry – my area of expertise – seeking practical advice on implementing IBP.
While its principles may appear intuitive, meaningful, and effective, change requires leadership. As Abraham Lincoln wisely observed: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
Change management necessitates a leader who can understand, engage, drive, and spearhead the transformation. External partners can provide the perspective and expertise necessary to navigate this complex process, even for companies with less talent or resources.
Businesses now face a critical decision: do they adopt the right approach or risk stagnation by sticking to their old ways? The urgency to innovate and maintain competitiveness in this fast-paced world necessitates a collaborative process. Doing it alone is not just time-consuming, but it also runs the risk of being outpaced by competitors leveraging the expertise of industry partners.
Pleasingly, leaders increasingly recognize the need to revisit their strategies and harness organizational data to inform future decision-making. Without a long-term perspective, companies risk falling behind, and this is precisely where expert partners can provide invaluable guidance and insights for future growth.
Joining the dots
Answering “what’s in it for me?” is critical in any change journey. To transform decision-making and align it cross-functionally, leaders must understand the potential roadblocks and involve everyone in creating and achieving their shared goals.
One underrated yet essential aspect of change management is storytelling. Stories tap into our emotional and mnemonic capabilities, becoming potent tools for information dissemination. They have been humanity’s preferred method of knowledge sharing since time immemorial. A compelling and coherent narrative helps people join the dots.
Everyone understands the need for change when faced with backlogs, raw material shortages, or workforce limitations. Yet altering their entrenched ways of working can be challenging. This is where storytelling fills the gap, fostering a collective understanding of why change is necessary and how it benefits all.
Strong leadership has never been more essential. Leaders set the vision and work with others to manifest it. They need to understand their roles, how they need to behave differently, what it means to empower people, and why they need to look at the bigger picture and the longer term.
Rather than dwelling on the immediate future, leaders should assess potential longer-distance risks and opportunities to stay ahead in the competition. Working with expert partners allows them to focus on steering the ship, ensuring that the finer technical details are in capable hands.
The DIY attitude is no longer viable for business innovation in 2023. Ultimately, collaborating with trusted industry experts is the only way forward.