We are now well into 2021, and we can see that everybody has gotten down to business. We saw that the tradition of businesspeople being unavailable before mid-January disappeared. Instead, almost every field sprang to life in the first week of January. Business-wise, that is, because restrictions on our private lives have remained all around the world. Alright, in almost every part of the world. Businesspeople face two concrete challenges in 2021: new business strategies must be built, and their organisations need to be tidied up.
We all see that last year has fundamentally changed the markets. We can also see that things will not get back to normal anytime soon. What is more, we are all now aware that we do not really know what we can expect. We can plan strategies, obviously, but implementing them in practice and introducing a new strategy to the market takes more time. How long? We can only guess because the timing is very much linked to the vaccination supply and schedule. Meanwhile, the pressure for change is in an advanced state in the heads of the B2B customers and the consumer markets. It means that businesspeople striving for success cannot wait too long to finalise the strategies. This can be solved by assigning the introduction to the market across several dates. Smarter strategists even use so-called hybrid solutions; they consider that strategic implementation will have personal and video-based elements. The main question is whether everything is feasible via video meeting when moving to a new target group, when not only the products and services have to be perfectly ready, but the managers—who play a key role in strategic implementation—have to believe in them as well. Do strategists, company owners, and leaders have the skills to be motivating, persuasive, and sometimes manipulative without being able to meet people responsible for execution in person? Nobody knows the exact answer yet; however, a lot of people already have experience. Attracting the participants’ attention is not that easy for such a serious topic. And we have not dealt with last year’s mental effects, which definitely influence managers and key employees.
Strategy itself is not enough
We have reached the other key topic of 2021: organisational development. Many top managers spend a lot of time getting to know their colleagues, and they purchase the best tools for that purpose. However, “caring bosses” became disappointed in 2020 because they experienced a lot of surprises regarding their colleagues. They indicated reactions in decision-making situations that nobody has expected. As a result, the fear of company leaders and people responsible for the company’s operation increased. For the most aware ones, at least. This year will pose human challenges for leaders that they have never experienced, heard of, or read about. Of course, in such cases, “better and better professionals” are found everywhere; however, current leaders are way more careful and prepared than their colleagues were during the 2008 financial crisis. They do not accept meaningless advice and do not let themselves be misled. That is all good, but then how do they start to assess a never-before-seen situation? Business life does not have an appropriate forum for that yet, and there is a serious need for it. There are clubs and video meetings where participants can talk to each other; however, constructive, interactive, and professionally organised discussions are hard to be found on the market. The reason is obvious. Before the crisis, good professionals avoided these forums because they found “empty words” and “endless networking” useless. Business life has to set new standards that give real support to the managers who play a key role in leading companies and who want to develop their own work. We think it will be a major challenge in 2021.