Forget 'lady luck', 2013 is all about waking up to stakeholder engagement opportunities offered by recession and austerity.
For many organisations, the natural reaction to the global financial crisis has been shock, consternation and retraction, in that order. No signposts or guidance, its new territory. But enough is enough. We've all been feeling it. If 2012 has taught us anything, it's that we can build inspiring movements for change in the UK. In 2013, it really is time for many organisations to start anew. The navel-gazing is over. There's no going back to the world before 2008. We face new realities.
This is normal
Organisations need to get better at helping people live with recession. They must learn new ways to give to their customers, clients and supporters to help them navigate the new, normal reality. Businesses that learn how to treat their customers as partners rather than targets will find that people engage more closely with their products and services.
In the workplace, it's going to make absolute sense to consult employees on how they would like to be involved in future direction of the company. Increasingly, employees will be insisting that the companies whose success depends on them, play a wider, more purposeful social role.
Follow, share, join
For years, in business, all the guidance has been about leadership. Earlier this year, Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, wrote about support for 'followship'. "Business schools, business bookshelves and business pages are stacked full of references to leadership - but none to followship". If you know what it means, you're already making it happen. If not...
When employers recognise that work is becoming an expression of personal values, they will have the opportunity to make huge strides forward in engagement and inclusion. When I see blogs and articles about how difficult it is to get good staff these days it just makes my blood boil. It's good organisations that are hard to find.
I'm hoping that 2013 will be a year when more organisations stand back and consider what they do that helps people feel that their lives are more meaningful - employees and customers. Call it 'added value', if you must, but I call upon businesses and charities of all kinds to think about what they can give people for nothing. It's just a step from there to getting customers to join with them in that giving activity.
I think the real winners in 2013 will be those companies with the imagination to consider what their organisation would be like as an 'experience', rather than as a set of products and services. If that sounds too blue sky, every organisation could create some sort of an experience that brings people in and shows them a different side to their business.
I talk about possibilities. All are borne out of recession and austerity. This is now the norm. If there's one thing I could get every CEO to do in 2013, it would be to ask your customers, clients, supporters and members what makes them feel good and what would make them feel energized in their relationship with your organisation.
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