How To Maintain A Sustainable Competitive Advantage In A Changing World

Over the last decade, we have experienced a dramatic change in the world of work. For organisations, it comes in the form of how work is done, where work is done (on-site or off-site), and when work is done (increased flexibility). 
Businesses are facing increasing pressure from external and internal forces due to the increased popularity of remote working, focus on employee welfare, digital transformation of processes, and the expansion of the gig economy. 
Together, these factors, alongside many others, threaten to create a disconnect between organisations and their employees.
While organisations are trying to stand out and attract the best talent, staying relevant remains to be a critical aspect of maintaining a competitive advantage in a world that has become more complex due to pre- and post-pandemic global challenges. 

Four Strategies For Achieving Relevance As An Organisation


1.     A human-centered leadership model

The current reality in the social and economic sphere of human society emphasises the need for organisations to adopt a human-centered design in their corporate activities. According to the World Bank, the HCBM is an alternative approach to doing business that combines profit-seeking with ethics and integrity, as well as social and environmental sustainability objectives on an equal footing.
Most organisations are often designed to focus on short-term profit and scalability, neglecting a human-centered organisational and leadership approach. This usually comes at the expense of the organisation's overarching purpose, talent management, and retention strategy. 
We have observed that when organisations and their leaders take the right steps to develop human-centered business approaches, they achieve sustainable success which includes committed and engaged employees and customers. 
This is because they become much more adept at managing teams, attracting and retaining a diverse network of employees who are innovative and creative and who in return build these companies' resilience and the agility needed to not only survive but thrive in today’s changing world. 

2.      Implementation of DE&I initiatives

Another strategy to staying relevant as an organisation is to live and breathe Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) throughout every key aspect of the organisation. 
Diversity refers to the acceptance , appreciation, and inclusion of individuals regardless of their social, economic, ethnic, sexual, and religious attributes. 
Equity is concerned with avoiding biases and offering equal opportunities for growth to all while inclusivity is about freedom of views and perspective.
A great place to start is to do a comprehensive review of the company policies/practices that influence and shape the existing company culture. 
This will give you unfiltered insights to identify the bottlenecks in your organizational practices.

3.      Build ties with the academic community

An organisation can also stay relevant by building ties with people in academia. According to Forbes, this is one of the “safest and most inexpensive ways” to keep track of trends in the market and society. 
By engaging and commissioning studies, businesses can quickly identify gaps from an impersonal angle. 
Information when analyzed at the right time, can help organisations remain relevant in their industry.

4.      Alignment with SDG objectives and values

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were designed to help us build a better world for ourselves sustainably by 2030. 
They have values that are important not only to governments but also businesses and organisations. 
According to BCtA, SDGs are a “roadmap for a business opportunity”. When properly adapted, they provide a holistic framework for businesses to apply, show their contribution, and manifest the company’s purpose.
One of the most obvious incentives for businesses is the direct financial aspect. According to the latest report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Sustainable Development Goals present new market opportunities worth USD 12 trillion by 2030 globally and they will create 380 million new jobs. 
Besides the monetary value, working sustainably with emerging markets is morally valuable and it will enable organisations to stay relevant.
In today's world where rapid transformation and change are the new normal, staying relevant requires as much investment as staying profitable. This is key to always having a resilient business and not just in a tight economy.

Natalie Schrogl - Author

Founder & Managing Director, The Interface Leadership

Natalie Schrogl is a sought after leadership strategist, keynote speaker, and creator of "The ARMOUR of Leadership", a template for leadership transformation and a solid guide to crafting a sustainable response to the changing leadership landscape.