1. Adapt and be flexible. While many companies talk the talk on adapting to local markets, I recently met a retailer that spent two and a half years creating the right environment for its business to flourish in a new market. This retailer built its brand using a consistent approach across the globe. However, to enter a new, developing market, it had to overcome practical hurdles, such as restrictions on foreign ownership and cultural obstacles.
Following a lengthy and healthy negotiation process, government and company came to a mutual agreement. The government modified its rules, and the retailer adapted its corporate model by developing a more local supply chain, sourcing goods within the country and expanding its product line to reflect the local culture. It also trained four times the number of employees it needed, creating a more skilled workforce that benefits all.
This far-sighted approach took real leadership. It took the courage to break the mold to do something different. It also took vision to broker the compromises that led to the company’s success. It’s worth asking yourself: what are you working on now that you really believe in? Where do you or your company need to show more flexibility?
2. Value and reskill your people. Automation and robotics will have a tremendous impact on the future of work – and not just low-value, low-skill jobs. Last year, the World Economic Forum found that job losses are most likely to be concentrated in manufacturing, construction and installation roles – all male-dominated jobs – but also in administration, sales and production roles that are typically dominated by women.
How do we treat those left behind? As businesses, we need to value and reskill our people; we need to think strategically about how to deploy all that talent. We need to ask ourselves now: what roles in our company are likely to be affected? What skills are transferrable? How can we retrain those who want to remain with the organization?