Today is April 4 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how do you remain relevant?” Throughout the course of history many people have noted the significance of remaining relevant. Eric Ken Shinseki, retired United States Army general who served as the seventh United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, "If you dislike change, you're going to dislike irrelevance even more.” English novelist and screenwriter Ian McEwan noted “one could drown in irrelevance,” while former General Electric CEO Jack Welch said, "If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."
Navigating the chaos has always been challenging regardless of the time period. Due to the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous global marketplace of today, remaining relevant as a navigation strategy has taken on a new level of priority as people, organizations, and other entities look to achieve and sustain growth. Each year reports are published on this very concept. A 2019 report by the consulting firm KPMG is one such example.
In Agile or Irrelevant: Redefining Resilience, 2019 Global CEO Outlook KPMG noted “the percentage of CEOs who say that ‘acting with agility is the new currency of business; if we are too slow we will be bankrupt,’ grew from 59% in 2018 to 67% in 2019. To drive innovation and change, CEOs need to be prepared to take their organizations in entirely new directions. This will require a leadership mindset where CEOs are prepared to question long-held assumptions and beliefs — challenging the status quo if this is holding back progress.
Agile or Irrelevant suggests three qualities that will be critical for generating new ideas and driving radical change. First, leaders need to be closely connected to their customers, maintaining a dialogue and understanding their changing values and needs. Second, they need to balance data-driven insight into customer needs and requirements with their own expertise and intuition. Third, they need to create an environment where the willingness to change is recognized as a strength, not a weakness. Many CEOs have built the emotional resilience to recover from a failure. Close to three-quarters — 74 percent — said that they had a significant misstep early in their career — such as launching a venture that ultimately proved unsuccessful — but that they were able to learn from their experience.
As you look towards the future, what are you doing to remain relevant?