The Future of….Management
– by John Newton, Chief Marketing Officer, Aroq
Let’s make one thing clear, no-one has any idea what the future will bring, regardless of what the experts might tell you.
However, by thinking about the past and drawing on our shared experience, certain things seem as likely to be true in 10 years as they are today.
People will still need food, water, and shelter; organisations that satisfy these basic needs should have a future-proofed business model.
People will also still need to know that what they do matters, and that through their work they will be able to create a better world for themselves and their families.
Our responsibility, as business owners and managers, is to create opportunities to grow our businesses for both the good of our customers and our employees.
If we serve our people and customers well, then shareholder value should (hopefully) follow.
What’s more certain is that ignoring the needs of employees and customers is a sure-fire way to destroy a business.
So, what can we do to prepare for what lies ahead?
Here are three suggestions:
One. Provide a clear plan defining the future of our businesses that our people can believe in. Only time will tell whether our view of the future was correct but, back in the present day, our people need a believable plan for growth. Thing is, our employees aren’t stupid; they know that growth will maximise their chances of getting promoted, of growing their salary, and of being able to provide a better future for their dependents.
Two. Give our people encouragement, training and trust as they work to turn your vision of the future into action. Make no mistake – this is where the real work begins, and failing to support your team at this juncture will mean that your vision will be destined to remain a business fairy tale of what could have been.
Three. Get behind the plans our employees make, and work hard to remove obstacles in the path of action and innovation.
The sad truth is that truly innovative thinking, which is positively embraced by new businesses who have nothing to lose, is often resisted by much larger companies, who actually have much more to lose from the failure to keep pace.
The even sadder truth is that this isn’t news to anyone, though thankfully, by helping your people to successfully navigate the politics and decision making processes within your organisation, you can greatly increase their chances of success.
You see, try as we might, we cannot do it on our own.
Good employee management isn’t just important to running a business – it is arguably the single most important determining factor between corporate success and failure, and it is of equal importance in every corner of the organisation, from the apocryphal mailroom to the boardroom, and everything in between.
But surely, this is supposed to be a forward-looking article. Haven’t you read all this before?
Funny thing is, people will always be the future of business.
They are your prospects, your customers, your shareholders, and your biggest asset.
No matter how sophisticated your marketing segmentation database, if the field titled ‘Customer Species’ contains anything other than ‘Homo Sapiens’ – well, let’s just say that is a sure-fire data quality ‘red flag’.
People may be frustrating – maddeningly so at times – but it is only through the deliberate application of unlimited human imagination and organisation that our businesses will grow and thrive, not forgetting the unsurpassed quality of execution that our oh-so-useful opposable thumbs can provide.
Which means we need to find the time to check in with our direct reports regularly, and with enthusiasm; we must remember to say thank you to others for good work; and we have to tackle the poor performers and disruptive employees who are preventing our people from reaching their potential.
All basic stuff – but there again, so many of the things that our people truly need are just that – basic needs, easily fulfilled.
As long as we remember to treat our staff as we would want to be treated ourselves, then our organisations should be fit to weather almost everything that the future might bring.
That is, until the inevitable happens, and self-aware, autonomous machines finally take over; on that day, cosy notions about delivering growth through good people management, or any thoughts on how we can run our businesses for that matter, will be a tad too late.