Future Proofing Your Business in an Uncertain Future

With the recent snap election, Brexit and Donald Trump winning the US presidential election the economic future in the UK could be said to be uncertain.  In order to prepare our businesses to survive whatever the future may throw at us, it is important to invest time and effort now to getting the business in the best shape to allow it to flex easily to the needs of the future.

If it was easy to do this then all businesses would do it and it would be second nature to us all, but to be effective and sustainable there is a need to invest both time and money.  Both of these things are often seen to be in short supply especially when there is uncertainty on the future.

So what can businesses do?

  1. At all levels of the business review the key processes to check they are fit for purpose today and for where you as a business want to be in the future. If not start to identify the areas of weakness and start to take steps to strengthen them for the future.
  2. Review management personnel, team leaders/supervisors and above. Are the right people in the right roles? Do they have the skills to drive performance in the future? Do they do what they are asked in a mechanical way they always have? Are they open to change and the challenge ahead?
  3. Review team skills, do the right people have the right skills to meet the type of work the company is dealing with now, and expecting to deal with in the future. If not put training plans/budgets in place and mentoring to get the managers of the future ready to take on the next challenge.
  4. Define what is a good day and a bad day, and work out what causes those bad days and how the effects can be minimised in the future. Don’t forget to consider what will be considered a good day or bad day in the future and how you will measure this.
  5. Design your reports to drive performance now and bring it in to focus, as well as making them adaptable so they can be changed in the future with little fuss.
  6. Review the meetings managers attend, are they just a general catch up, are they producing an effective results or is it a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting? Is there better ways of running meetings in the future (e.g. video conferencing) and what facilities are needed to make this happen in the future?

When these ideas are put to management the objections often heard are “we don’t have the time to do this”.  This is when having an external team coming in is beneficial in order to focus solely on these changes and driving them through, while taking some of the pressure off the staff, but at the same time requiring input from the staff of the business.

Nobody knows what the future will be, so we need to infuse our businesses with action and a desire to improve.  Not wait for things to happen, but make them happen for us in the way we want them to.