Complex Made Simple

Why even good leaders fail. 7 rules you need to know to succeed

By: Ian Khan, Technology Futurist

With the emergence of the era of the 4th Industrial revolution, leadership will have a completely new meaning.

As companies of all sizes and scale compete for a greater market share there are some core tenants that we must consider in light of a fast-changing world, which is a direct result of new and emerging trends in technology.

Business today is affected and in many cases disrupted because technology is creeping in to every nook and cranny. Leaders will need to think in a fresh new way that compliments these changes.

There are two key reasons why leaders typically fail, both of which are environmental.

The first reason for failure is simply the inability to understand the environment in which you operate.

The second, the inability to adapt to that environment.

Two very simple things that form the foundation of a business success or failure.

Read: 6 things you need to do today to succeed in business

A recent World Bank survey reveals that the ease and challenges in starting and running a business in the Middle East vary between countries. Best practices are meant to be the golden rules that make errors, bad decisions and mistakes less probable while giving us a better possibility of success.

Best practices do have a big caveat to them.

They work well in the environments where they were formulated. As a result, something that works in Japan may not work in Malawi and something that works well in Australia may not work well in America. Add to that the element of different business and technology landscapes that vary from region to region and country to country.

Within the Middle East there is a significant gap that is brought around by cultural nuances, differences in employment models and more. These are not just variables that affect leadership but everything connected within the intricate maze of operating a successful business.

If you look back at some of the biggest business failures in history, a common thread emerges. This is the thread of the inability to adapt.

The success of some of the world’s largest companies has come as a result of an ability to adapt to new markets, adopting new technologies and innovation. This is not just true for new companies such as Google or Tesla, but companies that have a history of success and yet have stayed in business due to their leadership insights.

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GE, Virgin, Samsung and many others have stayed their course not because their products are amazing, but because they were able to adapt to different markets, geographies, and economic times when it most mattered.

To create the best outcome from understanding the environment and adapting to it, leaders could look into the seven axioms of value creation in today’s era of digital disruption. These are a way of facilitating the results that every organization craves. In the era of the 4th industrial revolution, where attention spans of the post millennial generation are predicted to be at a record low of 2.3 seconds, being extraordinary with your approach will be a key differentiator to success.

1-Improve engagement—Focus on creating two-way conversations. The new generations have a different model of engagement.

2-Teach accountability—Accountability across the company will lead to a mature culture that is built on trust.

3-Get knowledge—Encourage your employees to learn and build a culture of knowledge transfer to grow from within.

4-Improve constantly—A constant effort to improve will keep you ahead of your competition and, in front of your customers, propel your organization to the front of value creation.

Read: Five lessons for business leaders in turbulent times

5-Build an ecosystem—Building partnerships, working with specialist companies and leveraging outside expertise will be key to success.

6-Think value—Keep value creation as your top goal as that will first, align the needs of your employees with the organization and second, take you beyond financial gains only.

7-Acknowledge success—Build incentives for your employees, customers, partners and other stakeholders and acknowledge the good that everyone is doing to create limitless value.

The dawn of a new era powered by technology will be challenging for a majority of organizations that fail to understand and adapt. Leaders who understand these key tenants and possibly follow the seven axioms will pivot themselves and their organizations to be great.

Success in terms of financial gains will follow as a side effect, which enable a culture of sharing excellence and add a tremendous amount of value to the world.