What should you do in times of crisis, disruption and constant change?
We are currently living in a time of constant disruption and change and we must adjust our business strategies accordingly. At the World Business Forum, we have spent the past few months discussing this topic with some of the most important thought leaders to gather their ideas on how to tackle many of the current challenges we are all facing.
Paul Romer, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, highlights the importance of experimentation and innovation.
“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Even if there are disadvantages, and harms that we experience during a time of crisis, it is also a time that gets us out of our usual behaviors and encourages us to experiment and innovate," Romer says.
"The process of experimenting and innovating is ultimately what drives growth. We don’t do enough of that in normal times and we also tend to follow what everybody else is doing.
"Therefore the advantage of the crisis is that it’s just not to experiment but it’s to try and do something different - not just from what you’ve been doing in the past, but from what everybody else is doing. It does require you to leave your comfort zone - but the payoffs, if you’re willing to do that, can be very big.”
Underlining the urgency of being more creative, Pat Leoncini - an expert on leadership and organisational performance - says “in light of coming out of the pandemic and everything that happened, I believe people need to be a little more independent in thinking about how they’re going to go with their careers and how they are going to lead their organisations".
"It’s going to take more innovation and more creativity and I don’t think we can count on things lasting a long time, industries can get disrupted very quickly and I believe people need to roll with that and be more flexible and not upset when they need to make changes," Leoncini adds.
Best known as the author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he also discussed the importance of humility and innovation.
“I think the importance of humility has never been higher because there’s a lot of people that are trying to take advantage of this time and I believe there’s a tendency towards nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity and when there’s ego behind that, or self-interest, that’s not good for society, for community, for a company," Leoncini says.
"I believe we need to check our embrace of nonconformity and innovation with humility and make sure that people are doing it for the right reason. Taking an opposite view of something just to do it can be detrimental to an organisation. I believe we need to focus on humility first and then all the innovation will be productive and not distracted."
David Ulrich, one of the world’s leading authorities on talent management, discusses how crucial it is to grow from precariousness and see it as an opportunity rather than an unfortunate event.
“When crises happen, and we now live in a world of almost constant crises, we can see those as threats or as opportunities. If they’re threats we hide, we try to manage the uncertainty by not facing it; when you see the crisis as an opportunity you run into it, you face it. You say: What is it that I can learn? What is it that I can do as an individual or as a company in order to respond to the crisis?" Ulrich explains.
"When there’s high variance, that’s the opportunity to learn to grow. So we hope that successful business leaders create teams and organisations that see the opportunity in crisis.”
What we can take from these conversations is that it’s all about facing challenges rather than being afraid of them. Be independent, be creative, think outside the box and don’t fear failure because it might be all just part of the process. In these precarious times, if we want to succeed, we need to embrace change. Authenticity and good intentions always pay off.
This year, the World Business Forum will welcome attendees to its 10th edition, where topics like these will be further discussed by some of the most influential thought leaders in the world. It serves as an exclusive opportunity to learn from global trends and network with other executives.