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How to make change management happen in the most effective way

Many things can put your business at risk, including changes to your organisation, people or technology. The current pandemic has put many businesses under unprecedented pressure, and some even teetering on the brink of survival. Crises like this quickly turn change...

Future-ready part 1: What does a future-ready business look like in the new normal?

The pressure to change had been building for years. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, senior executives routinely worried that their organisations were too slow, too siloed, too bogged down in complicated matrix structures, too bureaucratic. What many leaders feared,...

Organisation Design: Restructuring or Reshuffling to enable Strategy

Customer expectations are not just changing; they are exceeding the ability of a business to deliver on time. They are looking for alternatives, with more emphasis on experience and convenience. To keep up, companies are evolving their offering to meet the...

How to fill the gap between Strategy and Execution

Organisations are great at setting their strategy and identifying their goals, but they fall short when it comes to their operating model review and redesign, the key component that enables the strategy and drives the achievement of goals. Operating models consist of...

Culture PART 2: The role of leaders in a culture shift

In the previous article in this series we examined the effect of COVID-19 on an organisation’s culture. Now, we turn the focus onto the role of leadership and technology in leveraging culture. When an organisation decides to change its culture – be it planned or...

Culture PART 1: Did COVID-19 signal the end for hierarchical organisations?

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, human capital is defined as: “the knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or groups of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods,...

Meet MAC’s Executives: Karina Jardim, Senior Executive

“Exceptionally talented consultant” “An absolute pleasure to work with” “Driven by a desire to see people grow” If you know Karina Jardim, you know that these phrases used to describe Karina ring undoubtedly true. She is a name that is valued to every MACer, whether...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Embracing the Workforce Ecosystem (part 2)

In the first part of this series, we looked at how the fears of technological innovation are resulting in an unproductive resistance toward modernisation, even as it gains extraordinary pace in 2021. We also delved into the importance of a growth mindset in allowing...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Overcoming the Fear of AI (part 1)

“What if artificial intelligence takes over my job? What if I become redundant?” Every one of us has experienced technology encroaching on our lives, more and more so with each year that passes. It appears that technological innovation is a certainty that is only...

Starting & Thriving in E-Commerce in South Africa: The Payment

In our previous article, Starting & Thriving in E-commerce in South Africa: The Customer, we looked at a few variables that affect the customer’s experience with a business; these include how you can build valuable information about and around your...



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Future-ready part 2: Diversity – an essential ingredient for a future-ready organisation

In his seminal 1937 essay, “The nature of the firm,” the economist and eventual Nobel laureate Ronald Coase argued that corporations exist to avoid the transaction costs of the free market. Yet with transaction costs plummeting (spurred by rising connectivity) this rationale no longer holds up.

Why then, do companies exist? The answer is identity. People long to belong, and they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Companies that fixate only on profits will lose ground to organisations that create a strong identity which meets employees’ needs for affiliation, social cohesion, purpose, and meaning. Future-ready organisations accomplish this in three ways: they get clear on their purpose; they know how they create value and why they are unique; and they create strong and distinct cultures that help attract and retain the best people.

When Netflix CEO Reed Hastings decided to change his then-small DVD rental business into a video streaming platform, he diligently prepared the way to fulfil his vision. First, he spent 10 years researching video streaming, spending up to US$10 million a year on the effort. He was not afraid to fail; he experimented with small projects and moved on quickly if they did.

Today, Netflix adds 10% more subscribers a year. When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, it was ready for the millions of viewers stuck at home. From February to April 2020, it raked in 15.77 million new subscribers globally, doubling the number of its projections.

Leaders like Hastings have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their organisation, and then they create a strategy to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Yet it is not just the leadership which will indicate success; if you want to be a future-ready organisation, you have to start to recruit differently. Skills are naturally of great importance, however, skills can be taught – you need people with the correct mindset and attitude. While the basics will need to of course be there, organisations need to shift from recruiting just for skills to recruiting for people who fit in with the values, culture, and mindset of the company.

Diversity and inclusion are key talking points here, and this is not simply to do with race and gender. Future-ready organisations need to be open to diverse views and people who think, look and feel differently to them. Once hired, these people should be embraced; listen to them, see them as a different voice and accept what they bring to the table.

If you want to be future-ready, you cannot continue to work with and hire the same types of people you have worked with and hired for the past 10 years; you are going to have to be open to bringing in people with diverse skills and different views. “But we’ve been doing it like this and meeting targets for years, why do we need to change?” might be your retort. A diverse workforce keeps you on your toes, ensuring you do not get stuck in the same rut, and prepares you for future challenges.

Ideally the whole system has to change, yet it is most often the leaders who are the biggest blockers. The modern workforce does not want to sit in the same job for years – they are not like the Baby Boomers who stayed at one company for decades – they continually want to learn, develop, and experience new things. How would your organisation treat such staff? Organisations which are stuck in the past will not be able to retain the new generation of workers who are put into a ‘job’ which isn’t based on capabilities – the new workforce won’t stand for that. Future-ready organisation need to be able to provide growth opportunities which allow employees themselves to be future-ready and the organisation to be future fit.

Adoption to change for employers and employees who were future-ready would have been easier to navigate when COVID raised its head. A future-ready business would have already had numerous employees who were resilient and had a growth mindset, allowing them to adapt to change easier. They didn’t view lockdown as an obstacle, rather a challenge they could learn from and overcome. What businesses do you know which have had to close over the last 15 months? Were they future-ready?

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