We have arrived at a crossroads.
A business wins when it can solve its customers’ problems better than anyone else.
Yesterday, customers’ most valuable problems were typically directly related to them.
Today, many valuable problems are shared by everyone on the planet.
Yesterday, companies were allowed to use many planetary resources free of charge.
Today, the true cost of these planetary resources is starting to be accounted for.
Yesterday, the well-being of a nation was measured solely by GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
Today, we are starting to measure it by more balanced metrics such as GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator) to provide a more comprehensive account across different areas of its well-being.
This changes everything.
Like any change, it can be seen either as an opportunity or a threat, depending on your position and your perspective on it. Defensive companies see this change as a threat to their existing business and revert to protective measures in an attempt to minimise its impact on them. Proactive companies see this change as an opportunity and seek to actively reposition their business in order to win against their defensive competitors.
The ones who adapt the fastest will win.
Consider the game of football (soccer). For decades, the basic rules of the game have remained the same. Teams have perfected their ways to play accordingly. They have learned to maximise their performance within the boundaries of the prevailing rules.
What if we were to remove the offside rule midway through a match? For those who are not aware of the offside rule, it, in simple terms, prevents an attacking player from getting closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the last defender to prevent an unbalanced offensive attack.
Many teams (and coaches) would struggle to take advantage of the newly available approach to offence as their mental models are rooted in the years of avoiding the offside flag. Equally, their defence would become highly vulnerable due to them not being aware of the threat presented by the opposing team’s forwards looming in an offside position.
Most business leaders have been brought up with yesterday’s rulebook for business. This limits their natural ability to recognise the emerging opportunity and guides them instinctively to view it as a threat.
This is why we Taivaleers have come together. We share a passion for sustainable business success. We call business strategies that help solve environmental and social crises while generating value for shareholders, strategies for sustainable success. They are strategies that enable businesses to do well while doing good. They are true win-win-win strategies for all the stakeholders involved. They are synergistic across all the stakeholders. They are, we do believe, the future of business.
Achieving sustainable business success requires both clarity of vision and iterative ability to execute.
There are multiple simultaneous market forces that trigger the need for a continuous strategic transformation for all companies as a result of the environmental and social crises. Companies that fail to adapt their strategies will risk their business becoming redundant in a very short period of time. Just think about industries like energy, mobility, food, etc.
All this forces companies to address multiple strategic questions for continued success:
- How to broaden your value proposition to include elements of sustainable success for your customers?
- How to provide your employees a sense of meaningful purpose with avenues to broader sets of positive impacts?
- How to reshape your supply chain to ensure sustainable transparency and tackle scarcity?
- How to scan and ensure continued compliance and turn it into a value-creating and sustainable competitive advantage?
- How to articulate your broader set of positive impacts alongside traditional shareholder returns to win funding?
- How to scan, defend, and counterattack the disruptive competition by leveraging new opportunities without the baggage of legacy investments?
An effective response to the multitude of strategic questions requires mastering the new superpowers of circular economy, business ecosystems, and data.
Circularity is a key enabler to help businesses transform their value proposition and operations to meet the new requirements of customers, regulators, and investors to beat the competition.
Ecosystems will help businesses to tap into the diverse set of capabilities to explore winning models prior to large-scale transformation and scaling.
Data will be enabler-of-enablers helping companies to develop new strategic capabilities in the circular economy via tapping into innovative ecosystems.