Making the right choices in a fast changing world

Earlier this week, Collins announced its annual word of the year: ‘Permacrisis’. Defined as an extended period of instability and insecurity, it’s an accurate summary of the last few years. The ongoing uncertainty has brought about seismic shifts in consumer needs, attitudes and behaviours, and businesses of all sizes must adapt quickly or risk losing out.

For big businesses, pivoting at speed is no easy feat. In this week’s newsletter, we share learnings from our recent work on how businesses can be more agile and thrive in times of change.

Being a big business has a lot of positives; size, scale, expertise and resources to make bold choices. There are some obvious downsides too; ever-present expectations and pressure from consumers and markets necessitates change, but cultural and operational barriers get in the way of it.

Incite helps clients to navigate these fundamental issues. Recent examples include growing share of the Electric Vehicles market and developing Environmental, Social and Governance strategies. Both require agility and confident decision making. Here are our top tips.

Create one version of the truth. Build, from various sources if needed, a comprehensive, non- duplicative, foundation of information and insight. And, as these are fast changing categories, don’t lock that insight down, plan for it to adapt to the changing environment. Critically, create the right context for change with a clear narrative from the top-down on why the shift is important.

Create a receptive environment for behaviour change. Establishing both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ ways to influence the organisation is critical. Decision-making environments must be established. They should be cross-functional and focus initially on aligning decision-making with fast action in the short-term. But executives must also be engaged, be ‘bought’ in with their heart, not just their head.

Make progress and plans visible. Decide on how progress will be measured, share that simply and impactfully, and make it relevant and as personalised as possible. Then collaborate at an executive level to course correct as needed, without prejudice.

Disseminated to the front line. The biggest transformations will happen where the business meets the customer. Front line staff must know the goal, the plan and feel empowered. Local markets, regional offices, and all the teams, branches and stores need to understand, so they can act.

Celebrate success. No matter the organisation, no matter the talent or resources, this will be hard. Take time to take stock, identify when things have gone well and where transformation is happening, and then celebrate the people who have achieved that change, across the organisation.

Fundamentally we, of course, believe that both information and insight are critical to drive successful business transformation. But to make business impact, they need to land in a receptive and action-oriented environment.