You Ask, I Answer: Opportunities and Hurdles for Leaders?

Conor asks, “What opportunities and/or hurdles do you see on the horizon in the next 6-12 months that will influence leaders decision making ability?”

You Ask, I Answer: Opportunities and Hurdles for Leaders? (TD Q&A)
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Christopher Penn 0:13

What opportunities or hurdles Do you see on the horizon in the next six to 12 months that will influence leaders decision making ability? Well, gosh, where should we start with the ongoing pandemic, which still is an over the the presence of world war three, which is functionally what we’re in right now and in the middle of on a tactical level, most organizations are going to see impacts of the supply chain crisis, which started in the pandemic has been amplified by world by geopolitics.

Everything on the on the Producer Price Index, everything on the on the supply side is getting more expensive, wages are going up.

And that’s a good thing because people deserve to be paid, what they’re worth what the work is worth, that they do.

And workers are at a point now in the their balance of power, where they can command pay that should have been commensurate with increases in GDP and productivity over the last 40 years.

They’re essentially playing catch up, and companies are not prepared for this prices have to increase everything is going to be more expensive.

Many things gonna be hard to get when you look, for example, at Import Export businesses.

And what’s happening in supply chains, metals, like platinum, for example, which is one of the major exports of Ukraine prior to the invasion by Russia.

That’s a very short supply that impacts automobiles and impacts the ability to make chips for computers, not snacks.

That constrains two critical parts of major supply chains, they the technology piece, especially, which has all these downstream ripple effects.

And so what this creates for leaders in their decision making ability is substantial uncertainty, uncertainty that cannot be modeled that cannot be forecast, because we don’t know what’s going to happen.

One of the limitations of things like predictive analytics is that you can’t predict what has never happened.

Right, you can predict things that have happened in the past, we have not had a, a, a World War of like conditions since 1945.

Right? We have not had such a massive dislocation in the world economy at this scale with two large economic players

Christopher Penn 2:41

in most people’s living memory, and we certainly don’t have the level of data that we would need from past world wars to effectively model what’s happening now, particularly with things like supply chains.

Globalization over the last 50 years, has made many economies interdependent and those those supply chains now proving to be very, very brittle, and very difficult to accommodate uncertainty.

So that level of uncertainty is going to substantially impacted decision making abilities, leaders in businesses need to pivot very quickly to figure out how do you operate in more of a real time manner rather than a predictive manner, because you cannot forecast what has never happened.

And therefore, you cannot make informed decisions in the long term.

Because you’re working with data that doesn’t exist yet.

We don’t know how the the Russian invasion of Ukraine is going to turn out.

We don’t know, if Russia is going to remain under sanctions for weeks, months years, it’s it’s impossible to tell.

We can’t forecast that.

We don’t know what’s going to happen with the current variants of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID 19, it is continuing to mutate, there’s continue to be 10s of 1000s of new cases per day, and every single time a new person is infected, there’s an opportunity for a game changing mutation.

So that is the biggest hurdle and challenge for companies to deal with in the next six to 12 months.

Those firms that are very agile, very nimble, and can make decisions that are sometimes strategic decisions and turn on a dime.

Those companies will do well.

What we saw during the early days of the pandemic is that there’s there’s resilience and agility.

Resilience for endurance means that you can survive tough times, right? If you have a lot of cash in the bank, you could weather the pandemic for a good long time.

But if your fundamental business model is impaired, then no matter how much cash you have in bank, if your cash flow is negative, you eventually run out of gas, right? You run out of money and you go out of business.

So resilience is only half of the puzzle.

agility is the other half those restaurants and those businesses that were able to pivot very, very quickly moved to takeout and delivery, for example, during the pandemic, or move to virtual classes online and deliver all their services digitally, and go through a rapid digital transformation.

That agility meant that they had to rely be less resilient.

They didn’t have to have a war chest of cash if they were able to keep their customers through pivoting, how they delivered their products and services.

That those skills of resilience and agility in combination will give companies continued advantage in the increasingly uncertain world that we are in


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