The year 2013 is now behind us. Time to pull out the crystal ball, dust it off and discover what trends will impact your life and business in 2014. I don’t know if I’m lucky or good, but, of the things I predict, I average over 95% of them happen within 6-18 months after my predictions. The challenge to making predictions is to be reasonable and somewhat practical while still getting people to consider how these new trends impact their lives and their businesses.
We are living in a multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted world. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must master several of these trends if you hope to remain a market leader. Master four of the five and your business will accelerate beyond your business’s current capabilities. You will find you need to learn how to innovate on the fly and create active implementation strategies if you hope to grow successfully to the next business model. Now let’s get started.
The first major trend is that your workforce will become more diverse than it has been in the past. For the first time in the knowledge economy, there is the potential for four or five generations working together. Work teams will be people working together from all over the globe. This requires good managers to increase their capabilities to leverage the different generations’ capabilities while harnessing their unique strengths and culture. As a leader, you must be willing to manage individuals to leverage their strengths while building teams to help each generation reengage with passions and values. Over 60% of employees working today do not feel connected to their careers or their current jobs. Older workers feel unheard and younger workers feel that they aren’t being given a fair chance to develop their skills to match future opportunities.
The second major trend is that technologies will continue to blur the line between work and home. Mobile devices leave people always connected to work and home. Mobile technologies will surpass traditional PC use in the next two years. Ask yourself when was the last time you did not use your mobile device to connect with others? Social media and mobile technology lead to higher rates of burnout among your key stakeholders. These tools have led to people being unable to focus on what is happening in real life for any extended period of time. Different generations struggle to set up boundaries between work and home activities. Successful organizations will need to harness technology if they hope to be successful in getting the best ROI on their technology investments.
The third major trend is we are moving back into a growing economy. This requires different leadership skills if you hope to successfully manage growth and profits. Both younger and older workers need to step up their management skills if they hope succeed when dealing with more global completion. Global work teams continue to shrink the world and successful workers need to become more entrepreneurial if they hope to build a successful growing business. A key question here is how scalable is your current business model? In times of slow economic growth you can adjust as needed; in higher velocity economies, you need to be more proactive in your approach to running your life and business. Every day innovation is required to excel in your business.
The fourth major trend is that marketing and sales innovation will be critical to your organization’s success. This means that you must become more innovative in how you manage your communication both to your inside customers and external clients. Over the past several years, customers have learned how to cut back on their spending. They have increased their negotiation skills geometrically. For many organizations, their cost cutting has become a routine. To combat this, you must help your business development teams to reeducate your clients to the possibilities. Innovative business development practices include many powerful tools, but like all tools they must be used effectively. Your leaner organizations must be capable of navigating in the innovation driven economy. We hope to help you in this key result area for your business.
Finally, the fifth major trend is that you must become a stronger manager and leader. How much time do you invest in your future leaders? How many classes did you attend in the past year? You must be able to see around corners and help guide your team to success. To do this, you need to keep up with the current trends and decide which are short term and which are going to change your industry forever. This final trend requires new skills and capabilities for you to be successful.
Over the past several years, we have spent time sharing new ideas weekly. Going into 2014, we plan to publish several times per week to help you keep up and move ahead in your markets. I have invited specialists to share their ideas here so that you can get what you need in the coming year. We are committed to providing you with great ideas and how to implement them more effectively in your life and organization. We look forward to serving you here at Market Leadership Journal.
Happy New Year! Have a great time celebrating with family and friends. We kick off our new series on business development strategies this coming Thursday. Come on back and start the New Year right!