Be better prepared for the next transformative journey, because it may come while the current transformation is still in play, a London-based, global top strategist tells TechRepublic.
Whether it’s a bump in the road or a tidal wave of change, organizations must accept that once a hurdle has been handled, there will be another, close on its heels. In other words, if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the fast-paced nature of sudden change. Businesses cannot rest on their success in dealing with the pandemic, but accept the cyclical nature of disruption.
“The ‘new normal’ for organizations is a context where we have to face disruption after disruption,” said Constantinos C. Markides, a world-renowned strategist and professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School. Markides’ latest book, is “Organizing for the New Normal: Prepare Your Company for the Journey of Continuous Disruption.”
Still, Markides cautioned, “However, the specific ways through which you address these challenges, we will have been affected by the pandemic.”
There is a historical context to consider, said Markides. “We had pandemics in the past. We also had great world wars, as well as other major catastrophes and disruptions. There’s no reason to think that we will not have major catastrophes in the future. I am sure we will. The problem is we don’t know what major disruption will hit us or when or how. The best way to prepare for the unknown is to remain agile so that we are ready to respond whenever. The other thing we know is important is attitude. People and organizations that approach disruptions with a positive attitude tend to do better in their responses. Educating people to develop a positive attitude is probably the best way to prepare for the next disruption.”
In addition to how well everyone adjusted to the work and lifestyle changes the pandemic brought, he said, “I was also surprised at how well people in every part of the world handled lockdowns, without too much resistance or objections. I am still surprised at how well China came out of the pandemic, and I would like to learn from that experience.”
The future workplace will correlate to the roles the employees have in their workplaces. According to Markides: “The most immediate thing that we will see is the emergence of the hybrid working environment. Every company will adopt the hybrid model that is most appropriate, but the key elements of this new model will be that we will be working a few days at home and a few days in the organization.”
Additionally, “some types of employees, such as back-office staff, will be working more from home than at the office while some other types of employees, such as people working in customer-facing roles, will be working more at the office than at home.”
He concluded: “One of the lessons to emerge from the pandemic is the importance of technology in helping us carry on our lives from home and in finding a solution to the disease,” and this revelation will resonate with him for his next book. “I’d like to leverage this insight in my next book to examine how we can use new technologies and new business models to solve other big social problems such as climate change, inner-city crime, pollution and the like. The world is facing numerous social problems, and it is important to use the learning from fighting COVID-19 to develop ideas and solutions to these problems.”