2022 has been a year of continued global disruption and from sudden inflation and fierce competition for talent many of the challenges that business leaders faced this year will continue to keep the C-Suite awake in 2023.
The war on Ukraine continues to have a seismic impact on the global economy, with inflationary pressure worldwide contributing to price rises in the UK. Meanwhile disruptions caused by Covid-19 continue to affect global supply chains, causing logistical delays and impacting staffing levels and customer expectation management. The ongoing knock on repercussions of this will undoubtedly contribute to sleepless nights for business leaders as the year gets underway and as attentions turn to;
Risk mitigation and management, protecting businesses’ brand and bottom line
Environmental and social concerns, pressures and responsibilities
As the cost of living crisis continues to take hold across the UK, it’s inevitable too that business leaders will feel a growing responsibility to support their teams which combined with cashflow pressures and general economic uncertainty, will undoubtedly be one of the core challenges causing nights of unrest.
From financial trends to workforce issues and a focus on sustainability, businesses big and small will be under huge pressures in the coming months and years to adapt and respond to the change and uncertainty that surrounds them, knowing where and how to focus energy, resource and attention is a challenge in itself, however there are some core areas to keep front of mind during 2023 planning.
Failing to adapt and respond to change;
If this isn’t keeping leaders up at night in 2023, perhaps it should be. Across the board, businesses will need to be far more nimble and able to respond to the ever changing needs of their customers and their workforce in order to maintain a competitive edge. Outdated tech will fast see businesses lose their relevance as demands, needs and expectations shift and are set by their competitors. Businesses need to be ready to invest both time and money in technology (and strategic partnerships) that keep them at the top of their game.
"It is time to consider the long view of operating in a digitally disrupted world, with the goal to do more with less, reduce operating costs, and create additional capacity to fuel the business in the midst of shrinking budgets, all the while creating an engaged and agile workforce,"
The fight for talent; innovating and evolving the working environment
Although the talent market is beginning to show signs of change, the fierce competition for good talent continues. The motivations and drivers of the younger generations are having a transformative impact on the way we work, and business leaders must again be nimble and agile in their approach in order to retain and attract the best talent. Across the board, the pandemic has facilitated deeper soul searching with employees continuing to reevaluate their focus and identify job opportunities that more closely align with their personal values and offer a better sense of wellbeing.
Leaders must continue to re-evaluate their approach to hybrid, remote and office based working, looking at how they can genuinely innovate and reinvent their approach with a clearer focus on the long term social impact of remote working and reduced human to human contact.
Remaining courageous whilst avoiding burnout
For business leaders, whether seasoned and experienced, or still relatively green, it’s tough to recall a more challenging and uncertain time to run a business. A positive and optimistic outlook will be key, keeping faith in business strategies and having the courage to remain steadfast in their approach.
As we hunker down to face the economic headwinds, it’s natural for many business leaders to put the brakes on and scale back on growth plans and investment areas - the best leaders however will set themselves up to take advantage of the inevitable tailwinds that will follow this period of economic uncertainty.
Courageous leaders are thinking about the next decade, not the next month. Many are spurring their organizations to rethink opportunities and reset the strategic gameboard in light of the current volatility. As one CEO said, “I don’t want to benchmark our performance to the industry—I want to reinvent the industry.”*
This unwavering courage however should not be at the expense of leaders' mental health. The challenges that business leaders continue to face in these prolonged times of uncertainty will, if left unchecked have a colossal impact on the individuals.
Torn between building cultures of honesty and transparency, whilst concealing personal uncertainty could drag leaders into a downward spiral to severe burnout and mental illness.
In order to serve the business and the people in it, leaders must invest in their personal wellness and mental wellbeing, creating outlets for themselves to not only decompress, but also to share the load and discuss challenges, problems and solutions.
Investing in strategic partnerships to support your digital transformation journey and relieve some of these pain points is a sensible move during turbulent times. You lose ground when you stand still, so let's get moving firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Emma Simkiss, Managing Director, Freestyle