As it appeared in the Daily Nation on December 31st 2019
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu
Learning has no end. Year in year out we learn, relearn and unlearn. This year, I have interacted with a variety of businesses. Some small, others large. Some thriving, others struggling to survive. With every interaction, I have reflected on the possible lessons. There have been many lessons. As the year ends, I wish to share the three top business lessons from 2019. These three lessons cut across industries.
This has been the greatest lesson in 2019. It has been evident that businesses that have stayed focused have outperformed their competitors. Such businesses have stayed focused on a number of goals. Overall, businesses that have stayed focused on a compelling reason for existence have had an added advantage. They have been able to survive when times are hard. Further, there has been need for businesses to stay focused on the major financial aspects of businesses. These include the revenues, cash flow and profits. Smart businesses have also stayed tightly focused on their customers, their staff as well as their suppliers and partners. In particular, the voice of the customer and the voice of the employee have been crucial. Losing focus in any of these areas can be detrimental to the business in both the short term and the long term. What does your business plan to stay focused on in 2020?
Be Agile and Adaptable
Today, the business environment is changing very rapidly. Three decades ago, the present and the future environments were described as being volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. This precisely describes the current business environment in many industries. There has therefore, been need for businesses to be agile and adaptable to survive in the changing environment. It has been evident in 2019 that leaders that can manage in such an environment are better placed to lead their businesses into the unpredictable future. Such leaders are not only swift but they also prepare their businesses for change. Agile and adaptable leaders have helped their teams cope successfully as they go through the changing times. Is your business ready for change? Will your business respond swiftly to change? The business environment will continue to change. Be ready!
Be Open to Learning
Learning is key to strategic success and at the center of business survival. All businesses learn, whether intentionally or accidentally. Smart businesses have been intentional about learning. They have learnt from their past experiences as well as from the experiences of others. They have learnt from successes as well as failures. Learning should be continuous and should happen at all levels. Individuals, teams and the business as a whole should stay open to learning. This is because learning has the ability to modify behaviour. In addition, it is by being open to learning that businesses create and successfully convert new knowledge into new business, products or services. Are you open to learning? What did you learn in 2019? What are you willing to learn in 2020?
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy