What Does Australian Corporate Leadership Look Like in 2021?
As one of the most tumultuous years on record recedes into the rear-vision mirror, Australia’s corporate players are looking at what remains of 2021 with a mixture of optimism and caution. With more than 25 million Australians to vaccinate and many of our principle trading partners still wracked by the pandemic, COVID-19 remains a real and present danger to business as usual, leaving many leaders puzzled regarding their next step.
At Wastech Engineering, we believe that if the past 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that success is possible in every market – it just takes the right approach. COVID-19 demands a certain set of values from organisations and their leaders – those that are best able to live up to them are those that will flourish this year and into the future. Join us as we explore a few of the ingredients that go into making a post-COVID-19 success story.
Markets are about competition. Being able to weather the storm is essential to businesses in every market condition, but it’s all the more essential during periods of uncertainty. COVID-19 was for many businesses a test of their resilience, separating those that saw it as a nice to have from those who made it a core part of their business.
This resilience can take many shapes. From businesses that were rapidly able to adapt operations to a socially distant world to those that were able to find alternative suppliers of mission-critical equipment and consumables, resilience during COVID-19 was all about finding another way. For some, this was simple as ensuring their product line reflected the times. An unexpected example of COVID-19 business resilience cam in the form of Melbourne coffee chain St. Ali. With their revenue curtailed by an end to in-person dining, St. Ali launched a ‘COVID Essentials’ line through their online store, allowing coffee-deprived customers to get their beans, brewing gear, face masks and forehead thermometers all in one place.
Hand in hand with a need for resilience comes a need for innovation. In a crisis, resilience is the shield that can help you survive the first blow, but it’s innovation that can help you fight back in a new market environment. With more than 90% of executives predicting that COVID-19 will fundamentally change how they do business, innovation is on everyone’s mind in 2021.
While technology can frequently play a part in innovation, it should not be seen as the be all and end all. Innovation frequently relates back to being able to identify and meet a need in the market before anyone else. Often more challenging is meeting this need while still creating value for the business. A shining example of cost-effective innovation during COVID-19 was Australian tech company SafetyCulture, who leveraged their expertise in WHS management to help businesses outside their standard audience quickly and effectively roll out COVID-safe practices through their app iAuditor. New clients were brought on board and substantial good will created all without significantly disrupting the business.
Businesses have talked for years about the need to be sustainable, green, eco-friendly, community-minded and people-focused – COVID-19 provided the perfect opportunity to prove it. A great equaliser in many respects, COVID-19 and social distancing forced many businesses into digital-only versions of themselves, relying on goodwill from customers to keep them coming back over other near-identical options in an app. What set them apart was customer loyalty, and what drove loyalty was the feeling of having a personal relationship with a brand.
There’s no shortcuts for this one. Building enduring, trusting partnerships with your customers takes hard work and a sincerity that can’t be faked. The rewards can be substantial, however. Imagine not having to compete on price because customers trust your insight and judgement and value your support in their lives or their business. That comes from understanding your customers on a deep level.
At Wastech Engineering, we’re proud to have been an enduring partner to Australian businesses for more than a quarter of a century. An innovative business, we’ve proven time and again that it’s new ideas that drive companies forward, helping them stay ahead of the competition and dominant in their markets.