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How to survive and thrive in the next 20 years

Fast decisions, strong leadership and fresh ideas will be the keys to success in the next two decades, says finance director and LSCA Business Board member Stephen Price.


January 2018

I often wonder what the corporate landscape will look like in 20 years. We live in times of unprecedented and ever faster change, and therefore one thing that is certain is that it’ll be very different to today’s landscape.

Over the last 20 years we have already seen significant change. Many of today’s largest companies, as you no doubt are already well aware, didn’t even exist 10 years ago.

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So, who will be the survivors and the success stories, and who will wither and die? Of course, there is no magic answer; if I knew that I certainly wouldn’t be writing this, I’d be sitting on my yacht looking at private jet brochures.

Yes, the market in which a company operates is important. Companies such as Google and Facebook were always going to emerge from the information revolution, but the dotcom boom from the turn of the century tells us it’s not sufficient just to operate generically in a growth sector. Indeed, for example, will Facebook itself survive in a fickle world where consumer tastes change faster than Superman in a phone box?

For me, a major determinant of success is an organisation’s ability to make decisions and to make those decisions with the necessary pace. In other words, it’s about strong leadership and not being afraid to stand out from the crowd.

Particularly in large corporates, we see many examples of inertia. This can take many forms but at a basic level, in my view, it is largely about not being willing to make changes that could be viewed as radical. What’s interesting, referencing my example above, is how Facebook has not stood still despite its success, for example through its acquisition of Oculus VR.

I don’t want to get into a discussion about diversity, but bringing fresh ideas to company boards has to be part of delivering success, management teams being encouraged to make radical changes, investors and capital markets taking a longer term strategic view… I could go on, but I won’t.

Corporate indecision is the route to failure.

Please let me know your thoughts, email me at stephen_j_price@hotmail.com.

Stephen Price is Finance Director at Cocoon Wealth and member of the LSCA Business Board. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ICAEW or the LSCA.

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