Consensus. Normally it’s hard to get more than five people to agree on the time of day so it’s unusual to have such a wide consensus, consensus across hundreds of businesses and business leaders, but my anecdotal evidence is that we have just that. So what is the consensus I refer to? Just this; everyone agrees that no-one has any real idea what the next 12 months will bring. Forecasting is nigh on impossible and this would be highly amusing if it wasn’t so serious. A CFO friend of mine told me that the auditors had queried his going concern forecast. Fair enough. He asked them how they would do it differently and if they had further ideas or information that could make it more certain. The forecast stood.
And that’s the problem; how do you run a business when you really have no idea what is going to happen, when the variables are so great and there has never been so many ‘what if’s’. I can’t say I can answer that any better than anyone else.
I do know though that quality management teams nearly always find a way. Sometimes there is no solution to be found and that is terribly sad, but on the whole the best teams find a way forward. However, ‘good’ in a pre-covid economy may not be ‘good enough’ in a post-covid economy. The qualities needed to navigate a ship in calm waters may no longer be sufficient in one hell of a storm. This is praying on the minds of investors, lenders, owners and management teams a lot at the moment. I have heard of so many inspirational stories since March it just shows what is possible when the chips are down. I’ve also heard of some less inspirational stories too.
Strategic hiring is something we normally associate with a benign or growing economy, when the future looks pretty certain and rosy, where key people are tracked for some time before finally
being fitted in as the perfect peg in the perfect hole. Measured, thoughtful, careful, strategic hiring all as part of a five year master plan. Horizons are no longer five years. Or three. Three months more like and that’s stretching it on occasions.
If we accept that the only certainty is uncertainty that at least gives a business something to plan around. In turn that allows businesses to assess their capacity to cope with change, rapid and sometimes unforeseen change. You may not know what’s around the corner but you can know whether you have the capabilities to not only cope but also to extract every ounce of opportunity from whatever that ‘corner’ brings. In short, you can think strategically about your management team’s capabilities and you can and should make strategic hires before the need arises, in the knowledge that when the need becomes suddenly apparent it will already be too late to fit that perfect peg in the perfect hole.
Demand for many skills will change and for some reduce over the next year. Demand for those that can manage change and excel under stress though will be huge; supply is already diminishing.
Given the chance and a little time we at Sharp Consultancy almost always find that perfect peg. Give yourself the time to get ahead of the curve (or should that be corner) and give me a call.
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