5 key questions for success in the New Normal

Consumer demand


Sustainability rather than globalisation is becoming the key driver for business. And the paradigm shift this creates means that companies need to adopt new Critical Success Factors as shown above.

Leadership skills will be essential at all levels of the organisation in order to stimulate the creativity and action orientation required for success.

There are five key questions that leaders need to address:

■ WHY do we need to do this?

Plastics is a good example of the changes underway.  The challenge created by plastic waste is obvious and championed not only by an increasing number of governments, but also by the brand owners who actually deliver products to consumers. So there is little doubt that change is on the horizon.

■ WHAT do we need to do?

Innovation is clearly the key focus in areas such as the circular economy and recycling. Companies need to work in partnership with start-ups and governments to develop the technical solutions that are required – as highlighted recently by the World Economic Forum’s chemicals Industry Action Group, where I acted as an adviser on the “building back better” initiative.

■ WHEN does this have to be done?

Time is not on our side, and businesses need to turbo-charge their development processes. The fast-track development of the coronavirus vaccines by the pharma industry provides an important role model for reducing time-to-market. The need is to operate key processes in parallel wherever possible, rather than in sequence, to avoid missing the boat.

■ HOW are we going to do this?

Paradigm shifts call for new ways of working. And today’s need is to develop more service-based business models, that will enable companies to generate future revenue and profits from the solutions they provide. This requires a change in perspective from product focus that is common today.

■ WHO is going to be involved?

The New Normal is a transformational rather than an evolutionary project. And time is short if companies are going to reposition their business to access the opportunities it creates. This means the critical first step lies with business leaders. They need to spell out Who needs to do What, by When, to employees, supply chain partners – and, of course, also ensure key investors understand the new direction.

Businesses now have a game-changing opportunity as the world moves into the New Normal. Past experience gives every reason to believe that the 2020s will see the necessary transformation successfully achieved.


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