How does a business go extinct? It’s not for lack of product improvement ideas, says futurologist, professor and business consultant Dr. Stefan Gröner. Typically, it’s for lack of understanding what customers really want.
Gröner offers the example of the stagecoach. As a product, it could be endlessly improved by making it bigger or more comfortable. But what people wanted was speed. Once the automobile came on the scene, it upended the stagecoach. That business went extinct.
I interviewed Gröner on the topic of digital disruption: How to survive it, how to lead it, how to thrive through it. What will widespread use of AI do to a company and its employees? How should leaders engage a burgeoning workforce made of digital natives who demand meaningful, personally satisfying work?
Below are some nuggets to consider. Watch our full interview here.
- Data is the most important factor for AI. Create a data culture in the company. AI will be driving business in the future, and data drives AI, so collect as much data as possible on processes, markets and customers and make it accessible to the organization, starting now.
- Cultivate a new type of employee: the generalist. Most companies are narrowly focused on specific skills, but once AI is running the game, they will need fewer taskers and more critical thinkers with broad interdisciplinary knowledge — creative types and empathizers who can think ahead, connect dots and people, and uncover new opportunities for the business.
- Trust and flexibility are the most important leadership skills in the future. With a new type of employee who is expected to think on their own, leaders will have to learn to lead by trust and not hierarchy; they will need to listen and learn themselves, and be able to explain the “why” behind their ask, not just the “what.”
Bottom line: The business that can anticipate and shift to a new paradigm quickly is the disruptor. Watch my conversation with Gröner on the VISION by Protiviti website. To stay ahead of megatrends affecting business, with research, analysis and expert opinion, subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Stefan Gröner is a renowned German futurologist, professor, speaker and consultant. He helps business leaders set their company’s strategic course for the future.