Getting ahead in today’s fast-paced business world requires a completely different mindset than in the past: One in which working professionals and businesses must be vastly more flexible, agile, and creative when it comes to problem solving.
Thankfully for tomorrow’s leaders this doesn’t take require a radical change in approach to do more with less or continue to forge ahead despite increasing uncertainty–just a few slight shifts in strategic thinking.
Following are seven simple ways anyone can more successfully adapt to any changes or challenges they’ll face in highly-disruptive environments going forward:
Time, effort, and energy are finite resources, meaning that every decision comes with two costs: Opportunity, as well as financial. When considering which business or career ventures to purse, be sure to factor both in and make a habit of consistently doing so when making decisions.
Because there are only so many hours in a day and choices we can pursue, every decision comes with a trade-off. Before deciding which business or career ventures to move forward with, consider whether the trade-off makes sense.
Common wisdom says, “Busy is good.” But in truth, it’s only good if you’re spending this time steadily working towards your goals–otherwise, it may be going to waste, or being spent helping others achieve their objectives instead.
When deciding where to focus, concentrate on accomplishing tasks that directly move you further towards achieving your goals and put lower priority on those that don’t. Time management is an essential skill for modern professionals.
Successful leaders always find ways to win in every scenario besides pure profits. That way, they’re always able to benefit from any given choice and use what they’ve gained to fuel continued growth and advancement.
For example, by taking on a new project or client that helps you push your company’s capabilities and creativity in new directions, you may gain invaluable new connections, insights, and experience. Likewise, as an individual, you might not get paid to speak at an industry event, but it may give you the chance to establish yourself as a thought leader, and showcase your products and services to new audiences.
Trade instant gratification for long-term gain. Rather than focus on the here and now, make a habit of purposefully seeking out the tools, talents, and resources you’ll need to succeed tomorrow today.
Perhaps taking a lower-ranking or -paying job isn’t such a bad idea if it gets you invaluable training and experience that will be in-demand in the future. Maybe spending less time trying to sell more of existing products and focusing on successfully launching innovative new ones is a better investment in your organization’s growth capabilities.
Another key habit that successful leaders continually exercise: Making firm business decisions despite uncertainty. Do your homework up-front, gather as much data as possible, plan accordingly, then act upon your choices. Remember: Timing will never be perfect–as General George S. Patton noted, “a good plan violently executed now will be better than a perfect plan next week.” After making a decision, assess the results of your strategies, and then adjust your tactics and approaches to be more successful based on the feedback you get from the results of your efforts.
Consistently experiment with new business strategies and solutions, and don’t be afraid to fail. Think of failure as the price of getting an education: It’s alright to fail as long as you’re failing quickly, cost-effectively, and learning from mistakes, using the insights gain to improve future tries. Leading innovators are constantly introducing new products, prototypes and solutions, and learning from these efforts, steadily adjusting and adapting these ventures to be more effective until they eventually find success.
Find yourself dealing with the same issues over and over? There’s probably a larger underlying issue that keeps causing them. Make a habit to stop curing symptoms and start solving problems: Instead of struggling with side-effects over and over, look for the bigger challenge behind them, then cure what ails you once and be done with it.