Most businesses are operating in changeable market conditions and at Moon Consulting we are seeing first-hand how our clients have adapted to retain market share. By supporting our clients with campaigns for management and board level positions we have sourced individuals who can provide proactive, transformational and change strategies.
However, as market instability continues, businesses also need retain their adaptability in order to thrive. In the latest in our series of articles with leading business figures Monty Halls, Founder of SeaDog TV & Film Productions shares his insight into “The Evolution of Business” and how companies need to adapt to survive in the modern business world.
Adapt to survive
Every Business starts out knowing what they are going to be and where they are going to go, but as time goes on and the business develops, it adapts and evolves with environmental conditions; it’s this process of adaptation that’s interesting.
Take Seadog, for example. Over the last three years we’ve evolved and adapted as the business landscape around us has changed. The world of media has become utterly unrecognisable with online platforms, virtual reality and other emerging technologies. In addition, the way people consume content has changed - they don’t want to watch programmes, they want content in the palm of their hands.
As a business, if you don’t evolve then you’ll find that you get left behind by the competition. The media industry is a prime example of this – some of the industry big hitters who had a pedigree in television programming and didn’t adapt to the changing market by expanding their offering, have gone out of business as a result.
Natural selection vs apocalypse event
There are two styles of evolution: The first is natural selection - the environment subtly changes around you and if you don’t change with it you drop out of the gene pool. The second is a when a big apocalyptic event happens – the meteor, the dinosaurs.
Looking at the current world economy - Brexit, Trump, trade wars, etc., these all point to there being a quantum shift in our business landscape that could potentially cause many businesses to become extinct. Why? Because they’re not geared to cope with the sudden shifts caused by an apocalyptic event.
Darwin said, ‘it’s not the strongest who survive or the most intelligent, it’s the ones with the ability to adapt to change.’ Some of the largest organisations like BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are struggling to adapt to the changing market mainly because change is difficult in organisations of that size - they are just too big to be agile.
Creating a culture of change
When it comes to creating a culture of change, there will never be a one size fits all model because for small organisations like Seadog change is easy, but for large organisations it can be more of a challenge. However, big organisations have more resilience and can stand more environmental stress. If you’re a smaller organisation you may not be able to withstand as much environmental stress, but you can move faster, change your behaviour more easily and it’s much easier to find your niche.
One of the fundamentals of change is addressing the culture of an organisation to make it receptive to such change. A lot of organisations struggle with this, because change is stressful and being receptive to change means that you understand that with change comes the potential for failure. It is inevitable that some of the things that you try won’t work and it is important not to lose sight of the opportunities that change presents. As Henry Ford said, ‘failure is just an opportunity to start again, this time more intelligently.’
However, underpinning any businesses culture are its values and these shouldn’t change just because the business is changing direction. A good analogy would be the anchor and the buoy. The anchor represents your values because they don’t move, but the buoy gets pushed around by prevailing conditions - wind, rain, current – these represent your behaviours. When implementing change, your culture and associated behaviours may change but they’ll still be anchored by the underlying values of the business.
Surviving the business apocalypse
Another great expression says, ‘whenever you get change you always get opportunity as well.’ With the rapid emergence of new technology and new ways of doing business, there are huge opportunities, but there will also be inevitable disruption over the next two to three years.
One of the keys to surviving the business apocalypse is identifying those future opportunities. Get a think tank together within your organisation to research the markets that you are operating in and identify future opportunities. Think about what you need to be doing now to prepare for five years’ time, or the World will move on without you and you’ll be left behind.
For example, virtual reality is an emerging technology with huge potential, but if you have a traditional model where you focus on TV, broadcast and beautiful wildlife documentaries, the arrival of virtual reality is a threat because it represents change.
However, if you have the right mentality it is a huge opportunity as well and this is something that we spotted at Seadog. We went out to the market to analyse the opportunity: there has already been a downward trend in the number of TV programmes being commissioned and increasing interest in virtual reality. We took the decision to invest quite heavily in our commercial multi-platform virtual reality department, and by doing this we’ve future proofed the business to some degree, whereas media businesses who are not investing in virtual reality are unlikely to exist in five years’ time.
In summary, one of the most important things to remember is that to adapt to the modern business world you need to prepare for, and embrace, change. Then embrace new technologies and the opportunities which will come about as a result.
Moon Consulting understand that businesses need to have the flexibility to adapt to the changeable environments they operate in while still growing market share. We have the knowledge and insight to support our clients in their search for leaders who are capable of providing proactive, as well as reactive, transformation and change strategies.