As thought leaders on interim management, every quarter we look ahead at what businesses need and apply thought-provoking insights from incredible interim business leaders, each with their own perspective. For the fourth quarter, here are expert insights from Michelle Diamond on executive leadership to help you advance your goals in Q4 and into 2022.
Looking back on the first three quarters of 2021, what are some key takeaways for you?
My key takeaways include the following:
Resiliency– Resiliency is not just a word, but a mainstay for all of us both in business and in life. Resiliency is what it took over the last three quarters of 2021 and what it will take going forward to be successful.
Adaptability– While pivoting was the buzzword for the last 18 months, true adaptability took place for all companies that achieved great financial success.
Foundationally Strong– Most CEOs and other business leaders recognized the importance of having a strong foundation from which to build upon going forward. Gone are the days where a company can survive with shaky foundations in the form of no growth strategies, old growth strategies, or static growth strategies, combined with internal operations and processes that don’t align with a company’s growth strategy, current and projected customer needs, or what’s going on in the external marketplace.
Letting Go of “The Old Way”– The old way of doing things or being internally focused simply doesn’t work anymore. Companies better understand the importance now of becoming both externally and internally focused to achieve and accelerate top and bottom line profitable growth.
Winners & Losers– Winners and losers have been seen in the form of high M&A activity, along with the number of SPACs and IPOs.
The Rise of ESG – ESG (environmental, social, and governance) is not simply a ‘nice to have.’ It must be a key component of every company’s growth strategy and must be communicated in a clear, concise manner to all stakeholders. CEOs and Boards are being required by and being held accountable by investors, stock exchanges, employees, and consumers. Stands must be taken, and it cannot simply be in the form of greenwashing or ‘lip service.’
From a talent perspective, what should companies be focused on (and why)?
Companies should focus more on dynamic talent that is not only trustworthy and flexible but also has a strong temperament and will be able to adapt to any internal company or external changes easily and willingly.
Also, talent that has diverse skill sets across multiple functional areas, industries, company sizes, or situations will greatly benefit companies as adjustments occur due to “the great resignation,” strategic shifts, changing consumer behavior and unknowns as they pertain to variants and social impacts. It will be important for employers to identify talent that can “walk and chew gum” and achieve success in any situation.
Companies should also be flexible in regard to the preferred working arrangements of their employees—100% remote, hybrid or full-time onsite. There’s a fight for talent and many companies are already seeing gaps in their employee population due to workers having more of a say in where they want to work and how they want to live their lives. Employers that want to win in this area will recognize this and adapt accordingly.
Furthermore, remote work is not new. We have a roadmap and game plan for remote work. As executives, most of us have done remote work while traveling or on some days simply wanting to work from home. Certain professions, such as public accounting, consulting, IT, sales, and others, have been working remotely for decades and have figured out how to be productive and still keep their firm’s or department’s culture intact. While the pandemic has caused this to be practiced by the masses and on a greater scale, we should not lose sight that these options are not new, even though they may feel new to some companies.
For Q4, what strategies or tactics are you recommending to your clients to finish the year strong? What should they be doing to set themselves up to be successful in 2022?
Strategic & Scenario Planning– Make sure your strategic plans are actually strategic and not just a budget exercise. Growth strategies should be strong in scenario-planning to enable your company to have a roadmap to win in multiple situations—in the short- and long-term from both a top- and bottom-line perspective. Despite what’s going on, the focus should still be on accelerating growth and being profitable!
Industry Shifts & New Growth Opportunities– As industries shift, so should your business. There’s no need to panic, but there is a critical need to be prepared and both identify and capitalize on the new growth opportunities around you—both now and those that will emerge in the future. Also, it’s important to remember that there is a roadmap. Look for best practices and emerging trends everywhere (not just within your industry).
We already experienced this during the Industrial Revolution. In the documentaries, The Men Who Built America and The Food that Built America, they share how we went from candles to the kerosene lamp to electricity, from the horse and buggy to cars, from cooking at home to fast food and frozen foods, etc. Some industries were eliminated and new ones emerged. However, titans like Carnegie, Rockefeller, JP Morgan, Vanderbilt, Ford, Post, Hershey, Birdseye, Heinz, and so many others were able to capitalize on the new opportunities and let go of the old ones, to build a lifetime of success and a legacy that is still here today. So can you.
About Michelle Diamond
Michelle Diamond is a growth and execution strategic and operational advisor and interim executive who has helped 65 companies in 31+ industries identify and enter new markets, win against competitors and eliminate roadblocks to strategy execution to achieve and accelerate top and bottom-line growth (organic and M&A). She uses both direct industry expertise and best practices across industries to provide innovative, yet practical, solutions that are tailored to organizations, simple and easy to understand, and implementable and executable. She also educates and trains CEOs and their management teams to ensure their companies win and grow faster and more profitably than they could on their own.