I seem to be meeting more and more people in business at the moment who are concerned that the economy is bumpy and unpredictable. You can certainly feel a lot of turbulence in the air; Brexit, Trump, FX rates, inflation, Russia, Middle East, fake news etc. The truth is that if you could fly up to 100,000ft and look down at the last 50 years you would see that this level of disruption is actually quite normal.
The new normal
Over the last half century there have been over 400 financial crises – 35 of those have been in major economies. At the same time, the level of international trade has grown from $1 trillion to $30 trillion. This level of growth, and the supply chain development needed to feed it, offers a massive range of opportunity no matter what your business does. If we spool forward just 10 years it is forecast that by 2025 The Internet of Things will consist of 1 trillion connections and be a $6 trillion market.
More turbulence, more change – and more growth.
In other words, the current level of turbulence is good news – for those companies and organisations able to think forwards and recognise how lucky they are to be living in a period of such exciting opportunity.
Be an agent of change
This is the opportunity that visionaries, entrepreneurs and inspiring leaders look for. They recognise that they are lucky to be living in a time of change. New markets, new technologies, new opportunities. In this new world, it is not about looking for market share, it is about looking for opportunity share. Scanning for new business prospects, thinking in different ways, inventing new services and processes.
Whatever your role in your business or organisation, you have the opportunity to be an inspiring leader.
To encourage your colleagues or team to consider different possibilities – and to dare to dream about what could be possible; this is about changing the mindset and seeing turbulence as an opportunity and not only as a threat. Recognising, for example, that the European market will still exist in 2 years’ time and, while it may be different, it will still be there. It’s about encouraging new thinking within your organisation to determine how to be fast enough, and flexible enough, to get to the new market before others do.
Think differently, share creatively
The key to new thinking is the creation of a leadership culture which invites every member of the team to bring their ideas to bear. People are incredible. Give your team the permission to dream. Invite them to remove self-imposed limitations and constraints to reach new markets – or to compete more effectively in changed markets – and ideas will begin to flow.
This new world can seem strange and threatening but ignoring it won’t make it less so. Turbulence is energy. Look at major turbulence as freely available energy to drive the game forward. Be grateful that you are living in a period of energy and opportunity.
Do not consider it threatening. Instead consider it exciting.
If there’s one thing you should do today…
So my message is: embrace the change. Don’t think of the current turbulent situation as an opportunity to be a harbinger of doom, think of it instead as a stimulating opportunity to move forward in your business with energy, creativity and enthusiasm. And most importantly, free up the constraints around your team to allow them to bring those fresh and inspiring ideas to the table.