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From working remotely, to coping with working in shifts of in-office skeleton staff, to adhering to lockdown regulations through levels 1-5, the events of 2020 forced many companies to adapt considerably to survive. CEOs have found themselves increasingly challenged to develop a long-range view given rapid changes in the short term. It is an understatement to admit that this has been stressful for business leaders, but the need is now more profound than ever to ensure business survival into 2021 and beyond.
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In preparation for the year ahead, here are the 5 questions most commonly being asked by CEOs:

  1. How long will the business hold an operational short-term view?

    Many successful CEO’s and their management teams are now more concentrated on short-term performance metrics. Although these short-term actions support the long-term strategy, by holding a short-term view, the results thereof can be factored into wider medium to long term planning, allowing quick turnaround adaptations and focus on key initiatives.  By so doing, the focus is on efficiency, while facilitating quick win strategic changes to keep companies on track towards long-term goals.

  1. Does the leadership team have a full skillset?
    The ability to adapt to and thrive in an environment of change is proving a key differentiator in business success. By keeping channels of communication open, ensuring informed decision-making and functioning as a true team, the whole team is significantly stronger than the sum of its parts. CEOs are asking whether their management team can in fact function as the desired efficient unit or if there are gaps in the skillset.
  1. How does your team want to work in the future?
    In certain industries, optimal functioning is dependant on the entire team being in one place.  In many other industries, however, the events of 2020 have brought forth a realisation and an acceptance that a work-from-home basis of operation can be at least as, if not more, effective.  CEO’s will need to think through what will ensure a more effective management team, how will workplace culture be affected, would a hybrid environment be more suited and how talent will be attracted and retained in future.
  1. How do we improve customer service?
    The most successful leaders are those that have the strongest relationships with their customers.  The reality is, however, that the events of 2020 have changed business for customers too.  CEOs will need to adopt a laser focus in relationship management to ensure that they continue to build the customer relationship, to understand the challenges the customer is experiencing and find ways to answer to those challenges in a way that continues to differentiate. Consistent over-delivery on the customer promise is key for success.
  1. How do we maintain or revive company culture in 2021?
    One of the biggest challenges faced by companies working remotely is to maintain the culture. The leadership team is the embodiment of the company value system – they are responsible for creating and developing company culture.  Where culture has been compromised through the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, transparency and clear lines of communication are the only hope to continue to nurture company culture.

    Successful leaders are those that demonstrate that they are adaptable, transparent and flexible. This approach results in their team being comfortable with change and their company equipped for any challenge 2021 may bring.

The MMS Group is looking forward to the interesting challenges that 2021 will present. If you are interested in a career with us, visit www.mmscareers.co.za for more about joining our team.