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Challenges in the 21st century


Since the crash of the world economy many companies have been in very difficult competitive situations. They have faced many problems and challenges such as relentless pressure on margins, unprecedented drop in demand, diminishing returns on yesterday’s sure fight strategies and an enormous pressure to innovate on a shoestring budget. Many organizations and managers found these challenges insurmountable, leading to many companies disappearing from economic landscape.

The world continues to change and customers’ needs continue to change. Some businesses keep on serving up on yesterday’s ideas.. until it is too late. The smart and successful organizations actively and aggressively manage the future. Hence, the real challenge lies in knowing how to make change a competitive advantage instead of a drawback, how to prosper instead of merely survive, how to get and keep the mind-set that turns an organization from a victim into a victor.

The greatest challenge that all organizations face in the 21st century is the oncoming, overwhelming, accelerating pace of change. New realities and demands require a change of policies that have worked well for the last century and even more, a change in the mindset of the organizations as well as individuals. The new digital economy and electronic business are evolving so rapidly that it is difficult for everyone to keep abreast with the latest technological development and innovations. However, making a commitment to an operating system or a hardware family locks the IT department into a set of constraints spanning performance, costs and skills. These constraints may bar organizations from embracing the new technological options as they arise. Organizations will be able to insulate themselves from the worst effects of technology by riding with the changes.

Managing the future involves anticipating new and emerging customer needs and wants and creating new opportunities for customers in the way of products and services. Organizations and managers will now need to stay close to customers. Really close. It is difficult to stay on top in an era of ever-present change, when closeness to customers is even more challenging. The managers of tomorrow will be the leaders of change and need to have a creative mind and an instinctive perception about the shape of things to come. The winners in the new century will be those individuals and organizations, no matter what business they are in, who can not only ‘envision’ a future for their organizations, but who make that vision a reality.

Managers will need to understand customers better than the competition. ‘Customer Needs’ is a moving target. As soon as one figures out the riddle, its time to come at it with fresh eyes. ‘Value-addition’ or creation takes an important new meaning when managing the future. Hence, organizations need to pay constant attention to the innovation process. Managers also need to keep in mind that they cannot be too focused on their own internal procedures that they fail to grasp the external shift that will soon clobber them. One cannot afford to be blind to threat.

The organizations now work at an international level. One of the challenges of Globalization can be labeled as ‘multi-culturalism’. One of the implication of globalization would be that all business will have to measure up to the standards set by the leaders in the respective fields, anywhere in the world. On account of globalization there is an enhanced complexity in the business world. It also calls for an increased ‘team-work’ and the future managers will need team-building skills and also the ability to work in teams and lead teams.



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