Salvador Alemany, President of Institut Cerdà
Often, and especially in recent months, we all repeatedly ask ourselves how we should manage the situation we are experiencing and, in particular, what are the next steps we should take. In reality, one has the feeling that we have adapted to this new normal very fast, and have even normalised what should still be considered an extraordinary or exceptional framework. We have normalised the drama within our everyday existence. In most cases the debate, instead of discussing how we can learn from what is happening to us and how we can find new opportunities, is focused on try to get back to the known normality and this, in my opinion, is an error.
Just 112 years ago, the first Masters in Business Administration (MBA) course was born at Harvard. At that time it aimed to train and prepare corporate leaders to respond to the challenges of the moment. In other words, the vision was not to adapt, but to go further, to overcome the situation at all times and move forward. Experience tells us that changes always occur when organisations face situations that they did not expect and that were beyond their expectations or planned scenarios. What we must consider is that we need to change or modify to survive and develop in a world where security is no longer a stable parameter. We cannot continue to operate in what some experts call a “network society” based on models from the 18th century.
After the pandemic, nothing will remain the same. We are entering a more demanding economy and a more militant, more participatory and less tolerant society. Anyone who is not prepared to adapt or re-programme, or who is not willing to take risks, will not survive. The opportunity of the moment consists not only in adapting and surviving, but also in strengthening and anticipating the scenarios that so far represent only uncertainty and lack of definition. It is therefore necessary to transform organisations and companies into organisms capable of making decisions, of changing or modifying their direction, and even of evolving the products or services they offer, quickly, agilely and efficiently.
The challenge for the new leaders should be to look beyond their own territory, advance in dialogue and in diversity and to consider that movements in markets are marked by probability and multiplicity of variables. Today we could also add that the main challenge is be permanently friendly with the signals that are produced in our environment, to have the ability to interpret them and to sufficiently well capacitated to make agile decisions that allow change.