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Boards, and Leaders, need to step up, lean in, collaborate and be very accountable.

Updated: Dec 2, 2021






In 2000, I recall relying on my historical to make most decisions - both operationally as an Executive Director and strategically, fiscally and legally as a Non Executive Director. Experience made up about 60-70% of my decision making criteria, it was reliable and it helped me know that I was making a sound and considered decision. History was a great teacher, and helped directors feel confident and comfortable about the decisions they made on a daily basis.


Enter 2021 - we have entered uncharted waters as directors and leaders- relying on past experience must play a much lesser role in the assessable criteria for any decision.

Global, and local markets are going through change, and adopting new norms, at an accelerated pace we have never experienced before. Aided by technologies that we have never seen before.


Last week I made a significant strategic decision based 70-80% on my own current digital research, merely a qualifying glance at history - it was the right decision - but in previous times would not have been - it was counter intuitive. It brought home the realisation that many important decisions now need to made based on currency of information available - usually online. I have witnessed major buying decisions made by others in past months where minimal, or no contact, with the supplier took place. I have also witnessed paralysis, and frustration where decisions are still trying to be made the old, and actually cumbersome, way.


Everything is transforming at warp speed from buyer behaviour and process, brand loyalty, how to reach and influence our markets, sales behaviour, hiring processes, and predictability of the stock market - to regulators grappling with the need for new compliance controls that embrace a whole new way of living, working and even playing.

As corporates, and governments, we are mostly behind - well behind - these new market forces. We are in urgent catch up mode to ensure we protect brand sustainability, revenue streams, hold our customers, hire the best people and retain them, and especially how we influence our customers and markets.


In my CyberSecurity guise, I see lengthy old world tender processes, including lengthy presentations to a committee from a short list of suppliers - all this bound by bureaucratic norms of the previous decades, preventing organisations around the globe from deploying the tools they urgently need to counteract the relentless onslaught of cyber attacks from well organised and funded criminal groups.


It is transparent today those companies in insurance, retail, manufacturing, transport, hospitality, health and even InfoTech that are struggling with their own digital transformation, are losing market share, and revenue - allowing Unicorns to thrive, unencumbered with a new digital strategy that meets the needs of the emerging generational customers as well as those customers wanting a simpler, faster (likely remote) way to engage with suppliers. No more wet ink, posting letters of approval, phoning a help desk and waiting many mins to over an hour to get a person to talk to!

Recently, my bank voice messaging thought it was reasonable for me to wait 90 minutes to speak to someone - the only way to resolve my accounts being locked over a transaction they deemed suspicious, but I knew was genuine.


Who has 90 minutes spare to facilitate resolving their mistake? Do you? I dont!


Today’s customers demand to be able to self service at their own speed, time and convenience, to make a buying decision - or resolve a query - behind a screen - on the fly - and complete the purchase. Even the chat windows being offered are rapidly out of mode, as they are often operated in the way we used to do it - the queue is just as long, your PII , may now be exposed with the security checks, biggest benefit is you are saved from the nauseous ads and music.

Admittedly, there needs to be service provisions for those who cannot or will not operate in the way the world is going - this is the choice of every organisation if and how they service that market - but after the pandemic we have all been through - those customer numbers are reducing as many were forced by necessity to embrace the new digital age.


Boards and Leaders must urgently lean in, ask the tough questions and challenge whether they have the frameworks in place to be able to move and approve, guide and advise, and implement transformation to allow the growth and retention of revenue sources by catering to this very new world of machine speeds and minimal opportunity to speak to the consumer about their goods or services.


We are never going back to the way it was - the world and culture has changed too much!

“Boards, and Leaders, step up, lean in, collaborate and be very, very accountable. Stakeholders will hold you liable for performance. Above all be current, seek and understand new ways for market leadership, and apply that new knowledge to organisational transformation to survive”


"Stewart Manning was established in January 2020, as a collaborative global group of independent consultants, advisors and Non-Executive Directors, to support and assist enterprises and government agencies with forward thinking strategy, and leadership support, to ensure sustainability into what is guaranteed to be a very dynamic future.

Stewart Manning Collaboration is made up of a league of extraordinary, independent men and women with decades of experience in cyber security, digital transformation, digital marketing, telecommunications, innovation, project leadership and revenue generation.

A team with exceptional ability to identify the broken links in revenue optimisation and expose the less understood risks in digital transformation and cybersecurity due diligence.

Stewart Manning team believe we will not return to the 2019 world ever - it was fundamentally flawed and the positive side of the pandemic is that it was truly transformative and illuminating - personally and professionally - individual or enterprise.

Enterprises need to move forward beyond 2020/21 pandemic crisis with an updated and optimised strategy for growth, profitability and competitive strength. If you are to thrive - this plan is unlikely to look anything like the plan you had agreed upon in January 2020".

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