Three fundamental factors for business leaders

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Jim Pauley, President and CEO, National Fire Protection Association.

The business climate is constantly changing, keeping even the most experienced and savvy business leaders on their toes.

From changes in national regulations pay equality and worker classifications With shifts in the job market making finding the right – and sufficient – talent more challenging than ever, business leaders have a lot on their minds.

With so many internal and external factors at play, it can be difficult for a leader to prioritize. Managing day-to-day operations alone can be overwhelming, let alone when they are exacerbated by economic challenges such as inflation and external pressures such as customer and stakeholder expectations.

Taking an organization to the next level with new, innovative policies and practices (for example, generative AI, creative employee training modules, and cloud migration) and having to manage every step of the way can be overwhelming and even lead to missteps.

As a business leader, with decades of experience leading and growing organizations, these are a few fundamental things I think leaders should keep in mind as they scale their businesses in this ever-changing business landscape.

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1. An organized approach to digital transformation

With so many options to get started and which technologies are the most useful, it’s no surprise that business leaders immediately try to implement the latest technology.

But it’s important that you take the time to evaluate your business objectives before diving right in. The first step in effective digital transformation is conducting a business audit to assess current challenges and find solutions that meet those needs.

While the market can be unpredictable, it’s also important to consider where the company will be in five or ten years. From there, you can assess the technology you need now to meet customer needs and drive business results.

Overall, you should continue to assess and reassess your organization to stay current on business technology needs and gauge the market’s response to innovations.

2. Maintain facilities

It’s no surprise that business leaders need to invest in their people, software and other factors that contribute to overall business success. Where I find they tend to stray is by forgetting a core part of their business: the building it lives in.

Natural disasters, for example at their peakand by not investing in facility maintenance and upkeep, business leaders are leaving their organizations vulnerable to disasters that can impact their people, operations and their profitability.

I think business leaders need to assess technology and software needs in conjunction with their physical infrastructure. By ensuring your facilities are aligned with the latest codes and standards and the latest technology to support hybrid and personal teams, you’ll be better prepared for unexpected threats to your facilities.

3. Emergency preparedness

Business continuity plans are essential to an organization’s success. Whether it’s a disaster or a cyber-attack, business leaders need to make sure they have a plan B for every scenario.

Not sure where to start? I recommend focusing on your physical spaces: do they have the right equipment to prevent security incidents? Are employees trained to deal with an event? Is the organization equipped to deal with sudden calamities? If you said no to any of these, review your safety plan as soon as possible.

Making sure employees feel prepared to handle an event is just one step in planning for the unexpected. However, the burden of preparation should not fall entirely on the employees. Business leaders must ensure that, in addition to following building codes, their facilities are equipped with proper safety equipment.

From alarm and sprinkler systems to fire extinguishers, all buildings should be properly equipped and staff trained in the use of these devices as and when required.

There are many factors that contribute to improving business operations for continued growth. In a world where uncertainty is lurking everywhere, it is critical that business leaders focus on fundamental business needs before committing to digital transformation efforts.

By focusing on creating a resilient business ecosystem, I believe organizations are more likely to thrive no matter what the world throws their way.


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