One only need to look at YouTube videos of toddlers using touch screen gestures on print magazines to realise that coping with the speed of technology – a major driver of social change – is the business leader’s biggest challenge in 2013.
Business advisor, trainer and author of the nuts and bolts book Business Mechanics, Jerome Jacobs, believes there are three must have skills for small and medium business managers in 2013.
“If you want to have a thriving business in three to five years from now, then doing things the way you’ve always done them – including offering a steady product and good customer service – isn’t going to cut it.”
To stay in business, let alone grow, there are three essential skills that businesses leaders must cultivate in 2013.
Learning no longer ends when you leave school or university or your apprenticeship. If you stopped, it’s time to start again – particularly when you consider that the top ten jobs in demand today, did not exist in 2004.
“There are kids in school now learning to do jobs that don’t exist yet, to solve problems people are yet to encounter. These new jobs, technologies and problems are impacting your organisation now.
“If you want to lead you don’t have to be a specialist, but you do need to have a grasp of what’s going on and you need to keep up, or turn the lights off,” says Jacobs.
Business leaders need to challenge themselves to innovate on a daily basis.
“Innovation isn’t just inventing something new. Innovating even pertains to the way we think and behave.
“For example, think about innovating in the way you deal with your staff. When millennials arrive in your workplace today, many will have worked for corporates like McDonalds and Progressive – they will be used to mentoring, training, reward and promotion even before they leave school.
“If your company doesn’t emulate that, you won’t attract good people,” says Jacobs.
Heard of self-accelerating technology? Time Magazine reports that computers, biotechnology and nanotech use their own processes to develop more rapidly – in other words, new computer chips are already developing the next generation of more powerful computer chips.
What that means for the business owner is that change is happening too fast for any one person to cope with, but that same change will have a fundamental impact on how you do business.
“Being flexible means measuring where you are at now – really getting to know the numbers. Only by knowing exactly where you are at any given moment, are you able to adjust and adapt.
“Measurement is the heart of being flexible because it means you don’t so much have to keep up as know where you’re going wrong – good measurement allows you to be specific and focussed instead of stressing about every development and trend imaginable.
“The well known author and industrial consultant Professor W. Edwards Demming said you ‘can’t manage what you don’t measure’. It’s even truer now in 2013 than it was in the 1950s,” says Jacobs.