Experts, consultants and pundits like to share their opinions of trends and issues affecting businesses or associations. When it comes right down to it, that’s all they are, opinions. For this blog posting, I cannot help but throw my opinions out there about some trends I see affecting businesses and associations. More importantly, I would like to offer suggestions for how leaders can address these trends. Hopefully, my thoughts will spark some ideas of your own. If so, please feel free to share them by replying to the blog posting.
1. Mobility. Every day your employees, customers, suppliers and members become more and more mobile. People can literally conduct business from anywhere in the world. The result of this trend is people are connected 24/7. Fewer people are able to shut down the connection even to relax over a weekend or during a vacation. I believe for people and their organizations to remain healthy, they must disconnect occasionally. Leaders must encourage and even set the example for their people to disconnect. Creativity can be inspired and new ideas can be generated through disconnecting, even if for a short time.
2. Social Media. If mobility has created the opportunity for us to be connected all the time to our work, social media has actually connected us – both for social and work reasons. There is a definite trend toward businesses and associations creating ways for their customers and members to stay connected with each other through LinkedIn and Facebook groups, twitter postings and more. Businesses and associations that aren’t taking advantage of these media are losing marketshare and probably the respect of their customers. How can leaders help their organizations address the inherent challenges that come along with social media? Does your organization have a policy that provides direction to your employees about their use of social media during work hours? You should. Does your organization’s social media policy address how your employees can and should represent your company online? As leaders, you should be at the forefront of this issue – start a blog; participate in the social media groups on behalf of your organization. Not only will you be leading by example but you will be better connected to your employees and your customers.
3. Effects of economic downturn on personalities. This is the most challenging of trends. The last several years have been difficult for most people. Businesses have struggled. Many have gone out of business. Unemployment is high and the fear of becoming unemployed is higher. A result of these challenging economic times and the fears they have caused, is people have shorter tempers; people are less willing to accept mediocrity; and people are applying more emphasis on price and less on value. How do we deal with this as leaders? We have to listen more carefully, we have to respond more directly and we have to communicate, communicate, communicate.
These certainly aren’t the only three trends in the business and association world. They strike me as three of the most prominent trends. What other trends do you see and how do you recommend leaders deal with them?