“All of this means it certainly isn’t the time to be complacent. Leaders that will thrive in the future are those that are purpose and values driven, resilient and agile, and bring out the best in high-performing teams,” said Kyle Loades (pictured), chair of Active Super and a professor in the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Newcastle.
Loades has a particular interest in the transformation of businesses facing disruption.
Loades said the key characteristics of what he calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including AI, quantum computing and machine learning, will soon combine with data science and technology. This combination, he said, will be critical enablers in a company’s success or failure.
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“COVID-19 certainly pushed this revolution along at a rapid pace, with many businesses finding themselves easily adaptable to, what was previously considered ‘impossible’, flexible work arrangements,” said Loades.
“This flexibility has so much potential to change the way businesses manage all stakeholders, beyond their employee base.”
Loades said the business disruptions of the future are difficult to predict.
“Every single Australian company and industry has an ‘Amazon’ equivalent coming for its current and future customers, and the first signs of this can often be detected by observing disrupters to adjacent industries to your own,” he said.
He added that it’s important to add emerging risk to the company risk register to ensure these threats are identified and managed together with other, more common challenges.
“Change is an undeniable, permanent characteristic of business now. Leaders must understand and embrace this change or know that they will be left behind. It’s crucial, though, that we don’t forget lessons learned from the past in our bid to shape the future,” he said.
Loades said it’s essential to fuse the best of the company’s past with the best of what’s coming in trends and opportunities on the horizon.
“To do this, it’s a necessity to have a high-performance team around you which challenges the status quo and has a well-managed risk-taking culture,” he said.
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