Future security must not be fulfilled at some point. Your company should be future-proof in the NOW, today. We live in a time when nothing is predictable and no company or job is safe. Many companies, especially in the SME sector, are looking to the future with concern.
What is future-proofing? When a company is future-proof is determined by several objectives. In this article, selected but essential aspects will be discussed in more detail. For a comprehensive master plan for future-proofing and numerous real-world cases of what makes a future-proof business, check out Pero Mićić’s new book, Bright Future Business (due out in the 2nd half of 2022).
More future security through intelligent alignment
Without a picture of the future, without a common mission, positioning and vision, each employee thinks up for themselves where the company should go. For people do not endure this vacuum, or endure it only with difficulty. They then fill it themselves with their own explanations and ideas. Everyone means well. Therefore, no one can be blamed.
The energy, time and spirit of each employee form a vector, a directed force. When everyone has a different picture of the future in mind, it’s no wonder that vectors go in all sorts of directions. You still know it from physics lessons. This team cannot be truly productive, efficient and successful.
It almost doesn’t matter whether you don’t have a picture of the future at all or whether it seems too weak because, although written down somewhere, hardly anyone knows and supports it.
Every future-proof company is founded on a strong vision of the future that is understood and supported by a significant proportion of employees. That is, everyone is focusing their energies on it. How did Schiller write it? It is the mind that builds the body. First it starts in people’s minds, then it becomes reality. First it starts in the minds, and then it’s on the income statement and the balance sheet.
“We are accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable transportation and energy.” Elon Musk’s second major company has an almost modest-looking mission, which is just to ‘accelerate the transition’. This mission has actually already been accomplished if we look at how strongly Tesla has kicked off a revolution in the automotive world toward battery electric vehicles. Without Tesla, this transition, which was necessary anyway, would certainly have taken place much later. Tesla still has a lot of plans for the energy business, i.e. photovoltaics and large batteries.
You’ve probably heard of ‘Blue Ocean’. The special idea from this book is, get this, don’t go to the bloody embattled ocean, go where no one is yet and the ocean is bloodless blue. Brilliant idea, isn’t it? Well, rather self-evident. The call is banal, but nevertheless extremely important.
Following one of our suggestions, our client Warema has positioned itself as a “sunlight manager” by a manufacturer of sun protection systems. Warema has thus taken itself out of the traditional competition to a good extent and created its own category. With very tangible consequences. Because as a sunscreen supplier, you don’t necessarily go to Scandinavia for a lot of business. But as a sunlight manager it is, because then it is a matter of getting the maximum quality of life out of the little sunlight available.
Amazon is a prominent example. They say they want to be the most customer-centric company on earth. Less well known, but even more concrete and motivating and socially useful, Juwi says it: “100 percent renewable energy, decentralized and as fast as possible”. Juwi’s main site is in Wörrstadt. Nevertheless, Juwi received more than ten thousand applications per year, even when no positions were advertised. A motivating vision is literally magnetically attractive.
The future-proof company is strategically clear, motivating and uniquely aligned. Its future-proofing is characterized by clear answers to the following questions:
- What should be our mission that gives us more meaning, that guides and motivates our team? Which gives us a “Why” and a“Purpose“?
- What should be our positioning that makes our offering uniquely valuable to customers and gives us competitive advantages?
- What should be our credible vision that draws us into the future, makes us confident, that we are motivated to realize together?
- How do we create a sustainable and productive corporate culture with little effort?
More future security through strong competitive advantages in growth markets
Against the backdrop of the “sustainable economy” and the progressive pricing in of external costs (e.g. obligation to take back end-of-life vehicles free of charge), the idea of selling only the effect and benefit of the product, and not the product itself, will increasingly arise. Not pesticides, but the fertile field; not gas, but heat; not kilowatt-hours of electricity, but light; not the car, but three years of mobility; not the printing press, but ten years of printing. Focusing on impact and benefit opens up entirely new possibilities for combining with non-specialty products and services. The companies with a Bright Future business focus not on the product or solution, but on the impact that customers actually and truly pay for.
A future-proof company has built up and secured strong competitive advantages in growth markets. Its future-proofing is characterized by clear answers to the following questions:
- On which business areas do we now want to concentrate our efforts? What don’t we do more of to get less bogged down?
- How do we develop our business areas to make them more future-proof?
- What new business areas should we develop that fit our strengths and the future?
More future security through a future-proof business model
Publix Super Markets is the largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States. Publix employs more than 157,000 people. The idea behind it: They recruited their employees as co-entrepreneurs and thus expanded their company. In doing so, they have not only created the necessary commitment to strategic decisions, but have also made their company more innovative, productive and stable.
Focusing on your strengths and letting partners handle less important things is another proven approach. Apple, Nike and many other well-known companies do not produce anything themselves. All manufacturing is outsourced. They focus on development, design, marketing and sales.
In future-proof company has built and secured a productive and profitable system for peak performance. Its future-proofing is characterized by clear answers to the following questions:
- How do we increase the value of our products and services to customers so that they buy more and pay more?
- How can we scale and grow our business, even without spending more on traditional advertising and active sales?
- How do we become significantly more productive and profitable with new technologies and methods?
- How do we make it additionally difficult for competitors to copy us?
More future security through effective leadership
At textile manufacturer Gore, employees choose their own tasks within the framework of goals and democratically appoint a team leader. There are no titles and no job descriptions. Like an amoeba, a unit is divided as soon as it becomes larger than 200 employees. Behind this is the concept of self-organization. Self-organizing units work with common objectives and are otherwise free to organize their work. Self-organization is the opposite of command and obedience.
A future-proof company leads the team in a focused and forward-looking manner and is attractive to top employees. Its future-proofing is characterized by clear answers to the following questions:
- How do we make ourselves even more attractive as an employer to current and future top employees without incurring excessive personnel costs?
- Which key activities do we implement in a concentrated and consistent manner in the next phase?
- How do we lead our team in an easier, more motivating and effective way, without constant discussions and misunderstandings?
More future security for your company
Create your future-proof company! Not sometime in the distant future, but as quickly as possible. So that you firstly protect what you have achieved and secondly ensure that your company has a bright future ahead of it. This is how you attract the best employees who are eager and committed to working on your bright future. Whether you manage five, a hundred or thousands of employees, whether you are a sole trader, owner or managing director of a medium-sized company: You and your employees can and should have a bright future ahead of you!
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Have a bright future!