“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who survive, it is those who are most responsive to
change”. Charles Darwin
As 2008 draws to a close, battle weary management teams are retiring to reflect on the events of the past year and contemplate what the future may bring.
In a year where the only thing that could be safely predicted was that things would be unpredictable, it is easy to forget the importance of getting a relatively small number of fundamentals right. These include developing a robust strategy, the effective management of risks and exposures, pricing and cash flow management, a focus on key clients, strong leadership and clear communication. These core drivers are, of course, independently important but, in combination, create a compelling brand proposition.
Above all, however, it is the ability to move quickly and decisively in dealing with emerging opportunities and threats that will define the winners and losers over the next twelve months. Those who are fleet of foot and adaptive have a significant competitive advantage in a turbulent business environment.
Darwin’s words should resonate as we consider our approach to the economic challenges of the coming months. Loosening the cultural straitjacket which encumbers many professional firms will be
necessary to encourage entrepreneurship and responsiveness. Scary and exciting at the same time, there will be significant upside for those firms prepared to grasp this particular nettle.