Today we are witnessing ‘the start-up age’ and this generation may be aptly named
‘Gen-Startup’. As per a moderate estimate (World Bank Survey – New Businesses Registered in a calendar year), in India alone, there were around 98000 limited liability firms registered by the end of 2014; which amounts to over 260 firms being registered in a given day alone; and it is believed this trend only will improve in the coming years, probably fostered by the current Govt. of India’s impetus on startups.
Another emerging trend (a disturbing trend though) is that, most of these startups (over 90%) do not sustain over a 3-year period. The problem is not about a flawed business model; or their math did not add up or the funding didn’t see them through.
The main issue is that many of these firms are conceived with a very short-term gains perspective in mind. These entrepreneurs start their businesses with the mindset – “let me start a business, make some quick gains, create some hype so that I stand a chance to be taken-over” – there seems to be no long-term vision at all!
Subsequently, if we examine closely – during the last 2 decades or so, many firms /businesses (considering any business vertical) have survived mainly because ‘MARKET was their major or only business DRIVER’ and not due to the business acumen or the long-term vision of the promoter(s) /founder(s).
Now that leads us to a very important question; how many of these new-world businesses are ‘FUTURE READY’!
Let’s examine what might really constitute a future ready business –
Building Future Ready Talent
During the last 3-4 years the ‘future-ready’ jargon has picked up some steam; many organizations (big /medium and small) have brainstormed on this subject and the common meeting ground is, the need for – Future-ready Human Capital, the most important asset for any given business!
Organizations have to break the talent acquisition stereo types (of just looking at qualification and /or past experience) and spend enormous amount of time & effort in unearthing the real talent that will take them forward;
They have to be innovative in structuring their organizations with a mix of both traditional & new-age, roles and designations;
Stop looking for 100% role compliance in candidates /employees, but put in place creative programs for the resource to cross-learn or up-learn on-the-job;
Build into their business models a high-risk appetite with respect to the Human Capital.
It’s a known adage – ‘innovate or die’; I believe it’s ‘now’ this statement is of most relevance. A firm must continuously innovate to create a differentiation in the ever-changing competitive marketplace. The only pertinent question is whether a firm consciously seeks to figure out the possibility of a linear value innovation or non-linear (parallel) value innovation in it’s offerings – services /products.
Agile Work Culture
‘Change’ and more so ‘resistance to change’ are the realities all firms must face. Mostly, any new initiatives fail not just due to the lack of robust planning, but more so due to the fact that organizations are not ‘agile’. Many firms are still command-and-control, due to the absence of middle leaders or lack of decision-making capabilities. An agile culture is all about the attitude to ‘embrace’ & ‘accept’ a change and quickly adapt without the fear of adverse effects or failure. In fact, many studies have proved beyond doubt that a firm with an agile work culture is more successful in positively engaging its employees and thus have the higher retention rates.
Purpose Driven Leadership
Leadership paradigms have gone through a lot of transformation over time. Currently, it is the time for ‘purposeful /purpose driven’ leadership. It’s time leaders actually try and find real meanings to the goals they are trying to achieve with their teams (profit-motive no longer being at the top of the list). It’s worth mentioning here that, businesses are no longer just local, they are local in the perspective of a looming global context.
Hence, to evolve into a ‘future-ready’ business, today’s leaders ought to have a personalized, clear & a crisp purpose-statement with actionable purpose-to-impact plans.