Douglas sources the ideas and actions that will shape business, leadership and the way we work in 2021.
Focus on Strategy
1) Think long term.
Pacific FC, the Island’s Canadian Premier League soccer team, is looking past challenges the pandemic has dealt to professional sports, focusing on long term goals. “We’re not looking at this as a two-to-three year investment; this is a 10-year plus investment. This is leading up to the 2026 World Cup. This is going to pass, and we’re going to be stronger for it.” – Rob Friend, CEO and General Manager of the Pacific Football Club.
2) Focus on what you can control.
“Focus, more than anything, is really what allows an entrepreneur to discern what has to happen in the moment ahead of them. As an entrepreneur, I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking how might this be the best thing that ever happened? It allows people space to think about how they can control the controllables.”- Ian Chisholm, Partner with the Roy Group.
3) Confront uncertainty head-on.
Scenario thinking can enhance decision making now and in the future. Deloitte notes that executives and boards tend toward one of two types of response. The first way recognizes its existence, depth, and complexity but may become paralyzed by it. The alternative is a brashness aimed at wishing away complexity. Avoid both by planning ahead.
Get Clear on Marketing
4) Mobilize your data.
Any business can become a data business, using dynamic interactive content to speak to consumers and potential consumers. Use data to learn what your customers like about your products: how they like them, what kinds they like and what sits on the path to their buying decisions. Understanding that data gives a small company the knowledge to insert themselves into bigger business.
5) Look at a new client base.
Campbell River had annual growth projections over six per cent and
100 per cent summer occupancy, with 75 per cent international visitors in a normal year. This past year the majority have been from the South Island and Lower Mainland. “It’s not that some people haven’t been here in years, it’s that they haven’t been here at all.” Kirsten Soder, director of Destination Campbell River. “There is a lot of opportunity for some of us underdog destinations to become discovered.”
6) Adopt a human-first approach.
By prioritizing human needs to create digital offerings that will replace in-person interactions but still maintain the human touch. Safely and comfort are a priority. For Good Measure went online for pickup and had a dozen orders within an hour. The team worked to help customers convert measurements, often received in emails, and ensure amounts that customers purchased were correct by offering suggested sizings.
“That was something that really went into the website, teaching people how much to buy of certain things,” says owner Max Young. Demand increased to the point that Young doubled his workforce, who were filling orders seven days a week, and opened a second location in James Bay. Young’s takeaway was the resilience of community, staff and customers.
Cultivate and Show Leadership
7) Problem solve collectively.
“We’re looking for managers who can empower team members with selective honesty, posing the situation how the company perceives it, so you can draw solutions from
your team members.” – Stephen Roberts, Clinical Director and Counsellor with Amira Health (formerly FamilySparks).
8) Manage by objectives to promote true flexibility.
Working remotely is mistakenly credited with creating a flexible environment, but in reality it often replicates rigid, traditional office expectations like presenteeism. “Managers need to be clear about what the objectives are,” says workplace consultant Sarah Jackson in the Financial Times. “This will save us from the flexibility backlash. People are expecting to
work with more flexibility. Next year, lazy organizations will [go back to the way things were] at a time when they need to be more productive.”
9) Be an authentic leader.
The four core components of leadership are: trust, compassion, stability and hope. Finding inventive ways to create the space for conversations that elicit those ideas will see a rallying effect within teams. As Dan Pontefract, CEO of The Pontefract Group, writes in Lead, Care, Win: “A relatable leader is more personal in their interactions with others, demonstrating realness and a real sense of openness. They show their underbelly. Furthermore, they respect everyone they work with, are polite in all their dealings and they employ a high dose of empathy. They take the time to appreciate the opinions, feelings, and intellectual points of view of others.”
Get your Finances in Order
10) Fill the reserves.
“Cash is king. Plan to have enough cash to get you through a season of no sales. Really look at the business you are operating to make sure it’s as efficient as it can be. Putting a closer eye to your bottom line and expenses is a good lesson for everybody.” – Nicole Smith, Founder, Flytographer.
11) Plan diverse revenue streams.
Successful businesses all over the world are the ones that pivot by offering new product lines and services. Plan ahead this year with a diversification strategy.
12) Consider strategic philanthropy and charitable giving.
With charities facing reduced donations due to our current stay-at-home culture, giving back needs to be reassessed and integrated into financial planning. There are ways to give back that not only make you feel good but are tax efficient and will benefit economic growth in the future. Tesla Tours joined 1% for the Planet, pledging to donate one per
cent of its annual sales to support nonprofit organizations focused on the environment.
Build in Sustainability
13) Think about the big picture.
Restaurants need to look for innovative solutions that are cost-effective, bring margins back to the restaurants and do good for the Earth. With a lot more restaurants now providing take out sourcing quality, affordable, eco-friendly packaging is important for long term.
With over a decade of experience in takeout, Red Fish, Blue Fish leads by example. They are an Ocean Wise partner, serve only locally caught seafood and compost all takeout containers, utensils and food waste through the full service organics recycling program re-FUSE.
14) Pursue a circular economy.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, adopting a circular economy could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 22 to 44 per cent in 2050. Transitioning to a circular economy supports 12 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and also makes economic sense. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, it could unlock global GDP growth of up to $4.5 trillion by 2030. Benefits to businesses including cutting costs through reduced needs for raw materials, reducing energy consumption, increased supply chain resiliency and improving carbon footprint and resource security.
Modernize human resources
15) Invest in education to ensure your workforce is future ready.
Many leading organizations are realizing that over half of their workers will need to augment their skills and capabilities to position their organizations for long-term success. Individuals and employers should consider the benefits of micro-credentials for all stages of a career (read more on this in the Education section on page 34). “Reskill or upskill in shorter, more concentrated courses that allow the employee to transfer those skills to the next role or even the next company,” says Dan Pontefract founder of the pontefract group.
16) Recognize Diversity.
Equity and inclusion as a source of innovation and growth by investing in DEI training. Without an understanding of its needs and goals going into this an organization is implicitly assuming that a few short- term actions will tick the DEI box. Leaders needs to first determine why they value diversity and why they want to create an inclusive environment that connects with the company’s values and strategic goals.
17) Support your team to sort out their home offices.
Hopefully you’ve done this already, but making sure people are sitting and using computers ergonomically will reduce one of the most common reasons people see a doctor — lower back problems.
18) Consider a digital supply network.
Technologies such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, 5G, A.I., 3D printing and robotics are all critical to the digital supply networks (DSNs) where functional silos are broken down within your organization and you are connected to your full supply network to enable end- to-end visibility, collaboration, responsiveness, agility and optimization.
19) Fine tune operations.
Reassess demand, measurement of productivity and strict adherence to the production plan. “Specialists will talk about sales and operations planning, which is basically to align the demand in the market with your production plan, so you are producing things that have value in time and volume,” says Stephane Chrusten, senior business advisor, BCD advisory services.”
20) Use your data to improve efficiency.
Pani Energy helps water treatment facilities use a plant’s operating data to process water with increased efficiency and performance. Seek out innovations in your sector.
21) Get your head out of the clouds
Put your files there instead. Deloitte Global predicts that revenue growth in the cloud market will remain greater than 30 per cent for 2021 through 2025 as companies migrate to the cloud to save money, become more agile and drive innovation. “A range of enterprise and consumer technologies — from 5G to the cloud to virtual reality — will continue to offer opportunities to the worldwide business ecosystem,” says Ariane Bucaille, Deloitte global technology, media & telecommunications industry leader.