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The importance of embedding resilient strategies to overcome business complexities

It’s inevitable that every business, at some point in their lifetime, will face challenges which have complex solutions, especially in today’s unpredictable business landscape.

With numerous uncertainties to consider, such as fluctuating consumer behaviours, a rise in cyber-security risks, balancing the need for profitability alongside ESG and sustainability considerations, and the increasing emergence of new digital technologies (to name just a few), it’s vital that business leaders are equipped with the toolkit to confront their unique business complexities and turn challenge into opportunity.

There’s certainly not a one size fits all approach to managing complex business challenges, but by adopting the right mind-set when solving challenges and implementing effective risk-management strategies, doing so could be the difference between business success and failure.

Embrace ambiguity

The reality of the modern business world is that there are more uncertainties than absolutes and acknowledging that problems are likely to arise reflects a realistic understanding of today’s business environment.

No matter how detailed, thorough, and rigorous a business’s planning processes are, organisational tensions are inevitable, so accepting this and focussing efforts on searching for solutions allows organisations to evolve and adapt.

Organisations that accept the inevitability of problems are also more likely to incorporate risk management into their strategic planning, allowing them to make more informed, proactive decisions when confronted with the unexpected.

Turn challenges into opportunities

Not all bumps in the road have to ignite panic and a reason to abandon all premediated plans. The best, most dynamic leaders view challenges as a way to flip their mind-set and look at things from a completely different angle.

Problems and challenges often provide valuable learning opportunities for individuals, and organisations as a whole. This mindset also encourages a culture of exploring innovative solutions, and continuous learning and improvement, allowing an organisation to learn from their previous experiences and search for new ways of operating, which can sometimes bring vast improvement to their initial plan.

Seek alternate viewpoints 

The expectations of a leader in today’s business landscape have escalated enormously, but in reality, no one can be an expert in every single area of an organisation.

By consulting those with an expert understanding of the topic you’re tackling, not only will you be able to gain a deeper understanding of challenges at hand, but they can assist in mitigating any future risk posed to your organisation, that may be overlooked by those without specialised knowledge.

Seeking the viewpoints of experts is essential when making informed decisions, solving problems efficiently, and managing the overall success of a business. It enhances the organisation's capacity to navigate complexities with a well-informed and strategic approach.

By no means can we assume that just because someone is an ‘expert’ in a field, that they will always have the correct answer. However, the act of seeking alternative views from those outside of our immediate circles can lead to accessing a wider pool of information, that can be leveraged when tackling issues.

Diffuse leadership and decision-making processes, and increase communication

Complex business situations are often far too complicated for one person to comprehend in silos. Sharing-decision making responsibilities and diffusing leadership can have many benefits to a business. 

Not only does distributing decision-making duties empower employees at various levels, encourages them to contribute ideas, and take ownership of their own problem-solving, but a collective approach also allows for greater flexibility when adjusting to changing circumstances.

Complex challenges can be overwhelming when considered as a whole. Heightened communication enables teams to break down the problem into smaller, more manageable components. This can facilitate a more systematic approach to problem-solving and ensures that all team members are aligned with overarching goals and objectives.

Adapting to changing realities and demands

A constantly learning mindset is a powerful asset for business who face complex challenges. As well as equipping individuals and teams with the knowledge and skills needed to address immediate issues, it also builds a foundation for sustained success and growth in a business environment which is increasingly evolving.

All too often, a culture of ‘this is how we’ve always done things, so why would we change now?’ has been embedded into organisations, and those willing to push the boundaries have been dismissed.

However, learning is closely tied with innovation and creativity, and by adopting this mindset, businesses can become more skilled when analysing challenges, identifying root causes and implement effective solutions.

Businesses need to embed effective strategies to navigate complexities, achieve growth, and build resilience. By taking this proactive approach, organisations can feel confident in their ability to thrive in dynamic and challenging environments.

If you’re looking to develop resilient strategies for dealing with complexities within the workplace, find out more about our new short course, Managing Complex Business Challenges, led by Professor Paolo Quattrone, where you’ll learn to approach hurdles from a new perspective and reframe challenges into opportunities.

Blog posts give the views of the author, and are not necessarily those of Alliance Manchester Business School and The University of Manchester.

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