Staying The Course: Increasing Enterprise Agility In An Age Of Uncertainty
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The Gulf region -like much of the rest of the world- is facing an unusual degree of economic uncertainty this year. The World Economic Forum has already warned that businesses around the world will have to confront an expected drop-off in trade growth. Earlier this spring, global leaders convened in Dubai at the World Government Summit to deliberate on these global trade tensions, financial tightening, the slowdown of economies like China and India- all circumstances that would inspire caution when it comes to GCC companies’ business outlook.
While this forecast may sound ominous, there is still great opportunity for businesses that can stay agile in times of uncertainty. After all, building a business is a labor of love. It takes time and effort in addition to just money. Keeping a business afloat in stormy seas may not always be easy, but it is possible to ride the wave by making the most out of a dynamic economic environment. We must not let uncertainty be the killer of growth and innovation.
“Agility” is the key. It is a fitting time to remember that the capacity to anticipate and adapt to market conditions is the basis for business success. Likewise, one recent Forbes Insights survey noted that 87% view the CEO as the biggest proponent of organizational agility.
In a rapidly changing region, there’s just no room for static companies. Those living in the past will find themselves losing out. An agile company, on the other hand, is one that recognizes the value of continuous reinvention- particularly in terms of customer experience. If you make the customer experience a pivotal component of your business, you will naturally find that you adopt new technologies to serve them, that you tailor offerings to their evolving preferences, and that new partners can help you deliver value beyond what you could do alone.
Agile companies are also able to make decisions quickly. This is often an advantage that smaller businesses and startups have over larger corporations. Being able to produce new solutions, products, and services that are in keeping with customers’ needs, and that have the capacity to enhance local communities, is what keeps a company relevant even in times of uncertainty. That’s not to say large companies cannot be innovative. However, it requires them to consistently rethink their operations and take swift action in order to increase their real-time responsiveness.
In this regard, responsiveness and corporate efficiency are two different things. Being efficient may mean you create the best products in the most effective manner, but responsiveness means understanding the needs of your customers and being able to adapt to them. Both are essential to increasing business agility.
Moreover, it can be prudent in uncertain times to avoid keeping all your eggs in one basket. This metaphor goes beyond just your monetary investments. Whether it is your marketing campaign, sales initiatives, or sheer working hours, spread your opportunities for success across as many avenues as possible. And rather than investing in unrelated fields, focus on the areas that are under your control. These can include rethinking your brand values, the degree of bureaucracy in organizational decision making, and the way that employees collaborate within the organization.
By being willing to adapt and evolve to the changing world around us, businesses in the Gulf that prioritize enterprise agility still have enormous potential for success- even in today’s age of uncertainty.