In recent years, more so than ever, we have seen the nature of business change considerably and at a rapid pace. In previous eras, boundaries were clear. Everyone knew who those were in the company that had strategic roles to set policy and then there were those that were hired to implement them. A job title could be very revealing about a person’s role, responsibility, and level of influence. It could even be said that good business skills were mainly a matter of the following direction. With the nature of business changing, it is now clear that the idea of what constitutes a business skill has changed with it.
Why the Change?
Obviously, the nature of business has changed and ideas about what skills are needed for business have changed along with it. Any thriving business cares about globalization and increasing their global presence rather than being focused on what is happening locally. A personalized service nowadays can be harder to come by as a customer and in many cases is becoming less likely to be sought after. The top concerns of entrepreneurs, their clients, customers, and stakeholders came down to speed and efficiency. Businesses are becoming smaller, more specialized and skilled and succeed through linked chains of networking. We don’t just niche the markets that we want to serve but also specialize the work that we do for them.
To be the very best at what you do, you need niche skills, knowledge, and experience in that field. This will help your business to develop clarity when it comes to their vision and what niche they not only represent but are deeply in touch with.
Another driver in change is that all businesses need to be culturally diverse. Cultural diversity is a high priority because it is necessary to reach customers and prepare for partnerships that can form anywhere on the globe. There was a time when multiple offices in a range of locations across the globe were reserved only for the largest of corporations. This, however, is becoming the norm with smaller businesses as they look to network their niche skills. Technology provides more options to make this happen. To ensure your services reach a global market, leadership requires mentally committing to following the latest technology trends as to see how they may have the potential to help you grow your business. Technology and globalization are the backbones as to why business looks so different these days, compared with a decade ago.
All businesses must have clarity on who is in charge but nowadays there are big changes in the way that employees are led in a successful business or across a network of successful businesses. Not so long ago, the presence of power was enough of a threat for people to do their jobs. However, this does not work anymore. Leaders need to use their influence in order to push the business forward and align their employee’s goals with their goals.
In many cases, if you try to enforce a traditional hierarchy; this won’t work. Leaders should present an honest image of integrity, courage, insights and collaborative valuing spirit. This is your way of showing as a leader you are responding to the change within the company and within the business world in general. Employees need opportunities to be creative and have their thoughts and opinions truly heard; as a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure this. If their ideas are appropriate you also should not be hesitant to implement, regardless of who the idea has come from.
Embracing networking opportunities, engaging in social media and accepting feedback will all make your leadership stronger by the inclusion of all perspectives. It is important to also show you are willing to implement responsible policies such as recycling, paperless billing and presenting yourself on social media as a positive company, for all the world to see.
Attempt to build up a cohesive team. Employees can resist being engaged but any that are worth keeping will also hunger for engagement. Employees need to feel like they are truly part of something that they share and believe in. They are more willing to work hard and be committed to the successes of the company if they feel fully ingrained in their culture. The company should feel like an extension of themselves and effective leaders need to have strong communication skills as well as listening skills that exude empathy. Leaders should also seek to show genuine interest in the life realities that their colleagues face. If these skills are displayed then company leaders are able to motivate others to present ideas and insight and show the integrity of the company to the world.
Speedy Decision Making
Business moves faster than ever for reasons already outlined. Operational decisions need to be made quickly and with decisiveness. Decisions need to be made back up by knowledge of many different aspects of business, including customer relations, marketing, social media as well as an understanding of the financial aspects and bottom line. Make use of the fact that different employees will have specialized knowledge and skills sets that can be utilized in a meaningful way.
Nowadays in the workplace leaders need to be present in some capacity nearly all of the time. Clients and customers will expect interaction from the top. This includes social media. Comments and posts to your business and about your business need to be monitored and responded to very quickly. Technology should be effectively incorporated into the business model. As a leader, you should also make a certain amount of effort to be in the office and if you cannot be there then you should make sure you have fully empowered delegates available.
If you must be absent for long periods of time then at the very least make sure that there are well communicated, mutually understood goals and ambitions that are understood by everyone in the business in order to guide, inform and align everyone.
Back in the day, office skills consisted of a bit of basic maths, the ability to follow instruction and not much more so long as you didn’t question the boss. Nowadays it is about a lot more than that. Employees are required to present a positive impression of the business both in and out of the workplace. Good speaking and communication skills are an absolute must with the ability to handle situations of pressure calmly. Employees in most companies should be presented with opportunities to help one another to work to their best and exercise good teamwork skills and team cohesion.
Encourage your employees to think wisely about when to talk and when to listen. A good manager will want their employees to remain informed about their industry overall so appropriate learning materials should be provided.