Navigating Change: Top Priorities for CEOs & CIOs in Today’s Rapidly Changing Business Environment

Covid-19 has caught the whole world unprepared. Although not strictly a black swan by the definition of the author of the famous concept of black swan events, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the pandemic has created major challenges for businesses. 

It has changed the functioning of the business world, and companies’ capability to adapt to change and navigate uncertainty defines their success more than ever before. CEOs’ and CIOs’ priorities are shifting, too. 

In this article, we’ll look at the 5 top priorities of CEOs and CIOs in 2020 and 2021, and see how organizations deal with change. 

  1. Reorganize and rethink work 

Work-from-home (WFH) is here to stay, at least for another while—and it’s rapidly changing our definitions of what a workplace is. The office becomes a more flexible concept and isn’t necessarily tied to a specific location: it is no longer a physical work environment. Instead, it becomes a virtual space. Integrated, highly connected, and flexible.

Companies are rapidly adapting to work from home challenges. This creates a unique opportunity to rethink key areas, such as: 

  • Employee engagement
  • Efficiency and productivity
  • Effort vs. value
  • Work flexibility

Some organizations already had flexible work arrangements in place. Ultimately, they were better prepared to meet the challenges associated with working from home, such as ensuring efficient team collaboration and maintaining employee engagement. Recreating positive, stable team dynamics in a virtual environment is not an easy feat, but technology has largely facilitated this. 

One of the top priorities of both CEOs and CIOs at the moment is to be able to guarantee a comfortable work-from-home experience for their employees, while also managing their teams effectively, and keeping the company’s data secure. 

Employees’ top priorities are also shifting: health and safety, combined with job security, are at the top of the list. To futureproof their organizations, leaders obviously need to invest in technology, but another element is also key: they need to maintain a high level of transparency, empathy, and openness when communicating with employees, and protect them

Which leads us to the next point: 

  1. Attract and retain top talent

Although the job market has been profoundly impacted by the pandemic, attracting and retaining top talent continues to be a priority for industry leaders, and they’re now able to tap into alternative talent pipelines. Almost everything can be done remotely: 

  • Onboarding new employees (or independent contractors, in some cases)
  • Training and managing them
  • Granting them access to information and resources
  • Ensuring a smooth collaboration with other team members

This creates new opportunities and gives CEOs access to a global, diverse, location-independent talent pool. Managing these new work relationships—sometimes with employees managers have never met in person—is a challenge, and creating a smooth onboarding process is crucial. 

  1. Digitalize everything 

We no longer need to make the case for digital transformation: organizations that have already made efforts to digitalize their business clearly have a head start on other businesses. 

Nevertheless, making the switch now can also be an advantage. If you’re building everything from the ground up in 2020-2021, you have the opportunity to do it in a well-structured manner, and implement the best business practices for your industry. A wide array of tools exist for every need, from AI-powered network monitoring applications to video conferencing apps. Do IT Wise can help you harness the power of different instruments, approaches, and systems, to digitalize your business efficiently

Workflow automation and simplification are some of the top advantages of digitalization—and, ultimately, help your teams perform better and deliver higher quality products and services faster than before. CIOs and CEOs need to work together to achieve this; organizational silos, especially at a high level, can be extremely counter-productive during a crisis.

  1. Prioritize resilience and adaptability

Organizations are now facing the need to become agile at scale, and easily adapt to whatever challenges the market throws at them. Тo thrive, they need to maintain a laser-sharp focus on creating business value through innovation

CEOs who prioritize agility and make it possible to implement changes as quickly as possible, and scale operations as needed, have the highest chance to succeed. They either need to secure and improve the cost-effectiveness of the organization’s current business model or, alternatively, be able to rapidly invent and deploy new models. Adapting business models to the shift in customer behaviors and demands are instrumental to the organization’s resilience. And, ultimately, their capacity to survive is closely related to how customer-centric they are.

  1. Optimize spending

Budgets are tight, and companies are forced to reduce non-essential spending. This can be achieved in a number of ways: 

  • Improve supplier management
  • Reduce logistics costs 
  • Manage inventories better
  • Maintain flexible working arrangements
  • Optimize operations with the help of new technologies
  • Move towards preventive maintenance (of assets and equipment)
  • Leveraging on existing partnerships

All of those tactics can help CEOs and CIOs optimize spending and keep costs low and predictable. When uncertainty and volatility are high, using a more conservative spending model gives you the possibility to regroup quickly and be more flexible. 

It becomes more and more apparent that digitally mature companies are generally better equipped to adapt to change. Do IT wise can help you make the shift towards digitalization, and make sure that you’re well-prepared for the next challenges your business faces, regardless of their size and complexity. 

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