Sustainable business mantra: Keep competitors on mind

The marketing models should change from being product-centric to market-oriented. Now the pull model is favoured over the push model, where the consumer defines the requirements and the manufacturer makes the products accordingly

With the rapid expansion and adoption of technology, the nature and operations of most industries have changed significantly. With many companies adopting the latest technological developments like process automisation, digitalisation, cloud computing, big data analytics and Internet of Things, there have been changes in multiple areas. With these changes, the traditional way of running the business is no longer viable in this era.

Digitalisation and process automisation are rising rapidly in domestic industries, too. But the leadership style has remained very much the same. Leaders still follow the traditional hierarchical leadership system. They tend to make decisions and hand them over to the lower, operational level management who don’t understand why they should do what they should do even if what they should do might be wrong in the long run.

For effective outcomes, you need to know “why?” than the “what?” When you’re given a task without being explained, you’re not motivated to exceed the expectations. As you’re not motivated, you will not be able to bring out the full potential in you. For the employees to be motivated, they need to have intrinsic job satisfaction, which doesn’t come from the salary but the job itself, a challenging job. Their input on decision-making and higher responsibility must be given to the employees to motivate them and take them to action.

Attracting digital talent is another challenge as Gen Z is different from the Gen Y and Gen X. They are attracted by factors other than those that motivated the Millennial and previous Gen. They want challenging jobs, their input in decision making and an organisation that isn’t hierarchy-based. They want flexibility, remote working, innovative ideas and creativity for even the simplest job. And if the leader follows the conventional style of leadership, Gen Z might leave the company because no one is compelled to stay in a single company till retirement. If they are not happy, they will use the company’s internet and computer to look for a job elsewhere.

The employees’ power has risen to the highest level in history, their ability to look for job vacancies and seek information about employers around the world has become convenient and transparent. Websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor help search for jobs and recruit people. The latter even allowing people to see the employees’ review of the company, CEO rating, salary insights and more, which means ‘we have nothing to hide’ philosophy has become the norm.

Businesses need to consider another major stakeholder: customers, who keep the business alive. We must understand their needs and deliver the products or services they are looking for, or else they will switch to the competitors. While it has become easier to get to know the customers and engage with them through feedback, customer survey and review, businesses are yet to understand that they need to collaborate with the customers and provide the products or services that satisfy their needs for the sustainability of the business.

Understanding the impacts of digital disruption allows an organisation to take more informed decisions, which can be explained with C’s. As automisation and use of digital technology allow for a virtual organisation like Fintech, which has been gaining popularity in the Western market, such an organisation is able to reduce its cost base significantly. And compared to traditional counterparts, it is able to reach the customers more conveniently. The product or service can also be of high calibre because of insight knowledge of customers and other stakeholders. The product/service can be more consistent, and technology allows one to have better communication, which allows better coordination and collaboration. So when we understand these, we know we have a competitive advantage over our competitors.

The marketing models should change from being product-centric to market-oriented. Traditionally companies used to manufacture their products and send them to the wholesaler, who sent it to the retailer and then to the consumer. Now pull model is favoured over the push model, where the consumer defines the requirements and the manufacturer makes the products accordingly. Dell, for instance, has already started making customised personal computers.

Competitors are major stakeholders we need to beware of, as traditionally competition used to be with the domestic competitors, but technology has made it possible for companies to become boundaryless. Microsoft, for instance, is no longer considered an American company, as it serves customers around the world. So domestic competitors must be on their guard against multinational companies while developing their strategy. The success of your company largely depends upon the type of competitors present in the market you operate. Because competitors keep bringing innovative products/services, your company should consider their objectives, strategy, resources and competencies to gain competitive edge.

So it is recommended that a leader adapt a leadership style that focusses on employees’ empowerment and their input. They give customers the power to have their say while providing customised products and service experience.

Ghimire is audit staff at K.P.N. & Associates