How is your start to 2021? COVID, Brexit, Trump’s shenanigans – it looks just like the old year only worse! But what does the future hold?
Business likes certainty and stability, but we live in a VUCA world: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Organisations try to make strategy in a fast-moving and changing environment where the target keeps moving. With many of us fighting day-to-day issues, there is little time to stop and think about the future. COVID crisis management makes it even harder.
Even ‘futurists’ are having a hard time. Author and leading futurist Richard Watson, a recent guest on my local radio show Open4Business (Tuesdays 7-9pm on NLive Radio 106.9FM) has given up making predictions. And yet his advice is not to wait for the future to happen to you but try to shape it to what you want. You can hear my interview with Richard, in two parts, on www.podfollow.com/open4business. It’s well worth listening to.
The ability to anticipate and react to events and trends is, increasingly, a source of competitive advantage. Over the past 75 years, strategic management has evolved through a number of phases, namely:
1950s-1970s: Strategy as hindsight
1980s-2000s: Strategy as insight
2010s onwards: Strategy as foresight
Strategic foresight is the ability to observe and interpret the drivers of change and their implications for your business. Along with scenario planning (thinking about different future business environments) and strategic visioning (defining your desired future), strategic foresight is a key skill that many managers lack the time and possibly the skills to undertake. Yet it can make a big difference to your success – especially now as we Build Back Better after COVID.
CSBP, the University’s Centre for Sustainable Business Practices, can help. A mix of business academics and practitioners, with wide experience across many sectors, we work with boards and senior management teams on tailored strategic foresight sessions, helping clients not only anticipate the future but create the one they want. Why not get in touch for a free initial consultation?
Raising the bar – building back better
Hindsight. Insight. Foresight. Yet here is one more ‘sight’ that is becoming increasingly important in the world of business – and that is oversight. Good governance is now expected not only by law but by all stakeholders e.g. employees, press and the community.
In previous months these pages have looked at the growing interest in stakeholder capitalism and supported a Build Back Better campaign that takes into account environmental and social impacts. It is no longer sufficient to do the right thing but business should also monitor, measure and report on what it does – the ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) movement.
CSBP helps companies with tools like B Corp and its comprehensive Impact Assessment. Currently working with several of the county’s leading companies, we can help you make sense of CSR (Corporate Social Resposibility) and ESG in a way that strengthens your business resilience and sustainability.
A good place to start is the Good Business Charter. Open to all businesses and charities, the Good Business Charter is an independent not-for-profit organisation, supported by the CBI and the TUC. The time is right for a Good Business Charter to encourage responsible capitalism and publicly acknowledge those companies who exhibit such behaviour.
It offers a simple, self-audit accreditation which organisations can sign up to in recognition of responsible business practices. It measures behaviour over 10 components – see the panel on the opposite page for more details.
There are currently no certified B Corps in Northamptonshire, and to date only two of our companies – Courteenhall Farms and Trace Debt Recovery UK Ltd – have obtained the Good Business Charter.
Isn’t it time we raised the bar as a county?
To discuss any of the above, contact Adrian on 07720 297402 or email email@example.com