Those that recover from setbacks seem to be the ones that have the best capacity to start with. Those who were in shape prior to a hip or knee replacement get their mobility back quicker. Those who had prolonged periods of inactivity will likely take more time to get the full benefits of the procedure.
Organizations will have setbacks too. Business can slow for global or local reasons. There may be an unexpected shakeup in senior leadership. A disruptive new competitor may have arrived on the scene. And the organizations who are in top shape before the event will be in the best position to bounce back and exploit opportunities.
There are three key things leaders can do to make sure their organizations are in top condition before the inevitable bumps in the road.
Constantly work the innovation muscles. This means having the talent, culture, and processes consistently working to create ways to win in the future. A leader knows these are working if new ideas are being consistently generated both broadly and deeply within the organization.
Make sure the strategy is on point, not just the planning. Annual planning activities should not be confused with an appropriate strategy. The very best companies have a strategy that can be adjusted quickly based on keen awareness of the environment AND awareness of the impact of actions. Amazon is a great example of high sensitivity to the environment as well as how well their actions are working. Sears appears be poor in both areas and suffered greatly as a result.
Be developing the future talent. This doesn’t only mean developing future leaders, it means developing future capacity. Kodak had no response to a digital future by staffing chemical film engineers. AI will be a key driver in many companies, but it is not always clear how. Regardless and to stay ahead of the curve, big companies are getting many people trained in AI today. Shell alone announced recently that they will train 2,000 people in the technology.
There will always be some sort of set back whether in life or business. Those that have the capacity in place before those events happen will be in the best position to bounce back and be in a great position.