“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” - attributed to Charles Darwin
For those who tip-toed around myriad concerns in 2021, and who delayed some critical decisions until “next year,” you now know all the expected issues that never materialized, and all the surprises that did.
It’s now 2022 and delayed decisions are a year older, and a year’s worth of potential benefits and opportunities have been lost.
There are always persisting and emerging uncertainties. 2022 will be no different. Chief executive officers from sectors including healthcare, restaurants, packaged food, manufacturing, logistics and chip production have told CNBC that any hope of a “return to normal” in 2022 is misguided, and volatility will remain a primary business challenge.
But a great thing about volatility – it creates opportunities.
In the face of this new year, continued postponement of too long delayed decisions will be testing the staying power of too many businesses. Decisions delayed, by some companies for years, will severely disadvantage any business. This is particularly real in competitive markets, where customer expectations are high, products and technologies change rapidly and competitors are agile, decisive and risk tolerant.
The world’s souped-up economic train remains solidly on track, for now. Those who jump on essential decisions have already bettered their financial performance and their prospects. Meanwhile, the indecision of others has placed them at a competitive disadvantage. The longer we wait, the faster we’ll have to run, and the farther we’ll have to jump just to catch up. For a simple example, delaying a decision for six months that would have ultimately generated $20,000 of monthly profitability will corner us to find an extra $120,000 just to pull even for this year.
This year’s winning leaders will be those who are solidly decisive. 2021 passed quickly. 2022 will too. For those who didn’t launch their 2022 action plan yesterday, you now have one less day to impact this year’s results. Quickly, but prudently: fine tune your plan; assure that you have the right resources; and quickly but prudently deploy your strategy, capital and people.
We’ve seen prospective clients delay their commission of an executive search for a year or longer. In not one case did postponements “until next year” improve the situation.
For those postponements made in 2021, next year is now here.
Stan Davis is the Founding Principal of Standish Executive Search, a New England-based firm that advises business owners, executives and boards who are positioning their companies for accelerated growth, change or succession.