Being in the C-Suite is high pressure in 2021…
In fact, two-thirds of executives believe that the recent world events, and the aftermath, will be the most challenging time in their career.
Expectations from stakeholders are higher than ever. The workforce is mobile and global. Many young executives are underqualified for dealing with the complexities of a new world.
Frankly, not many people are equipped to deal with disruption and constant change. We’ve grown up with stability and structure. That’s what we crave.
But the business world is offering up something quite different.
The world events of 2020 are a sign of things to come. The future is about readiness, innovation, and acceptance of a new normal. Fortune will favor the brave, lethargy will destroy the weak.
The modern executive needs to be comfortable with the pain of constant change or they’ll die a slow corporate death.
Focus on soft skills
The Brandon Hall Group reports that 77% of organizations are currently experiencing a leadership skills gap.
Despite being flush with smart, qualified, and technically brilliant individuals, they lack soft skills.
This is only amplified as we continue to work remotely and technology drives every interaction. Person-to-person engagements are few and far between. We need leaders more than ever to take charge and motivate their teams.
The encouraging thing about true leadership is that it’s a skill, not a talent. It requires discipline, learning, and repetitive application to reach mastery, just like any other skill.
Unfortunately, our corporations are built as hierarchies where the longest-serving people are rewarded with leadership roles. Not because of their ability to communicate, motivate, inspire, or challenge others in the organization. But purely because of tenure.
If executives want to embrace a new world and navigate a constantly changing ecosystem they need to refine their soft skills and start breaking down this leadership skills gap. Take courses, get involved in extra-curricular activities or community initiatives, enlist a mentor – buck the trend, and take charge of your leadership capabilities.
Be fearless with new technology
Technology is an accelerant to change. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report found that new technologies are the primary factor driving organizational change:
While the global pandemic triggered a huge shift in the way we work, it also forced immediate innovation from corporations and executives to adopt new technology.
The modern executive not only needs advanced soft skills but they are also required to be at the forefront of technological advances. This means being not only aware of new technologies but also having a team that can innovate and apply those technologies to improve business processes.
“Prioritizing innovation today is the key to unlocking postcrisis growth” – McKinsey
In short – methodical and regular innovation is where the new normal begins and how we deal with a world of constant change.
An example of a new technology being used by CFOs to streamline financial processes is blockchain.
“Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.” (Source)
When it comes to financing and accounting records, blockchain provides a single source of truth for CFOs, including increased accuracy, quicker settlement times, and eliminates the need for reconciliations.
Basically, blockchain makes accounting faster, more accurate, and less susceptible to security breaches. A game-changer for CFOs.
NetSuite is an example of this technology in action. It automates revenue forecasting, reclassification, and auditing through a rule-based framework.
This is just one example of how executives are embracing new technology to create efficiencies and readiness for a complex economic environment.
It’s time to embrace constant change
Only one thing is certain in today’s business world – change is constant.
If you take your eyes off the ball for a moment, the world could pass you by. Technology, trends, and world events trigger change and the best executives lead their organizations by embracing the uncomfortable.
A common misconception is that innovation and change are driven by the product team. In fact, all departments need to be ready for uncertainty and new opportunities.
Finance, for example, can be a catalyst for innovation. The blockchain technology example I provided above is just scratching the surface. Consolidation and optimization of financial processes can generate cost efficiencies that benefit further innovation in other areas of the business.
Essentially, innovation could come from the place you least expect it. To lead in a world of constant change, you need to create a culture of innovation that looks in every corner of the organization for opportunities.
Are you ready?