Adaptability; A Competitive Strategy Organizations must develop in Order to survive environmental Volatility.
In the current unprecedented economic times, most leaders may be full of mixed feelings and anticipation on what the economy has to offer. Even though most Organizations may not Change strategy to adapt to the current business environment, the current situation offers a new opportunity for us to heal from the previous economic challenges.
Since 2020, Covid 19 has been one of the aspects that have disrupted most Organizations, shuttered some and left other Companies in critical condition and on the brink of collapse. With the trending Covid 19 variant, Omicron, there are indications that we are not out of the woods yet. Covid 19, even though, it is one of the largest catastrophes that has affected organizations in the recent times, it is not the final one and the only event to affect business organizations. There are other diseases that affect People’s movement and trade, there are Political factors that impact on business signicantly, elections, Government changing policies, insecurity, climate Change, collapse of the Financial Markets, among others that are likely to shake organizations right, left and Centre.
Due to these environmental factors, we are witnessing the end of highly specialized Industries, the end of very Large, complex and bureaucratic entities, the end of most Industry Specific, Market specific, Country or regional specific entities, the end of Companies with Fixed Products and services. Some Airlines like Kenya Airways, have had to adjust their fleets from Passenger Specific to Incorporate Cargo, I have witnessed a High School Property being converted to Rental units for College Students. We have witnessed google now investing in Online Learning and severe effects on the most specific Assets based Industries like Hotels due the limitations in the options available to them.
In Nairobi, most of the Hotel Property is up for auction, some of them Large five star hotels, Richard’s Branson’s Virgin Atlantic in America filed for Bankruptcy among other Companies. In spite of all this, there were other little unknown Companies rising to the limelight and taking advantage of the Covid 19 situation. Most of us learnt of zoom an online meeting platform that facilitates virtual interactions at the emergence of Covid 19,
What we have learnt in the past, especially the last two years therefore, is that organizations need to build resilience in order to survive various disruptions and volatilities. In order to achieve this, they need to be more adaptable to environmental changes. Adaptability as sustainable Strategy means being able to adjust to the new Changes and having the ability to cope with the changes in the Market environment. Unfortunately, adaptability cannot only be reactive, it must be a Proactive strategy. organizations must develop an adaptability Culture. Since disruptions and changes may be unpredictable, the Leadership must anticipate the Changes and disruptions and develop adaptive features to cope up with these changes. The following are some of the ways firms can adopt adaptive strategies within the Organizations strategy to stay afloat.
- Constantly and often conduct Environmental Scanning; Closely and constantly review the Industry trends, audit the market trends, monitor the Government policies and plans, observe the global trends that touch the area of your operation. Like for Covid 19, it was a matter of when it will reach in our Country and not If, since the virus was spreading so quickly. If organizations are able to develop tools for constantly reviewing and scanning the environment, they can leverage on the feedback to develop adaptive capabilities.
- Develop adaptive Leadership competences; In order for organizations to survive disruptions, there is a need to create leadership competencies that can overcome the inertia that is brought about by comfort zones. There is a possibility once the leaders have reached a comfortable position within the Organization and when everything is familiar, there is a sense of complacency and lack of flexibility when it is desperately needed. Leaders need to be constantly trained and challenged to think out of the box in order to build resilience.
- Establish incubation centers for new Business ideas; As an organization, it is important to establish a platform within the entity that will support new ideas without expecting immediate results. As an organization, leadership must create opportunities for new ideas without expecting Financial returns in the short term. The incubation should be done at considerable cost so that failure in the ideas to take off does not leave the organization broke. The Incubation center will act like the rough paper used for practicing new concepts. Once the idea is mastered and proves effective, it can be rolled out to the market and tested. Depending on the size of the Organization, an entity can have multiple new ideas on trial. Once new ideas prove worthwhile, the Organization must be quick on the implementation of the ideas so that you are not overtaken by events. Incubation for new ideas are like experiment centers, so that once the experiment is proved to work, it becomes a new innovation for the Company. This makes the organization adaptive.
- Create an environment of new Ideas and encourage out of the Box thinking; The organizations may establish a framework to guide innovations, whereby those with the new ideas can communicate openly and get rewarded for out of the Box thinking and going out of the Ordinary. Staff can be trained on the most pressing needs of the organizations that require adaptability and changes so that they can contribute to the same.
The above recommendations will help organizations to remain competitive and more sustainable in the wake of so many disruptions.
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