After a turbulent 12 months, Peter Baumgartner, chief strategic advisor at Etihad Airways, under discusses what may comply with in 2019 as challenges mount to the worldwide order
The transportation business is a serious enabler and facilitator of financial exercise and commerce.
Usually, it’s even a number one cyclical indicator.
This doesn’t essentially make business professionals good at giving predictions on future tendencies, after all, notably beneath the present dynamics and volatility of the atmosphere and the disruption of the ‘new regular’.
Nonetheless, 2018 has been an fascinating 12 months for me personally, in addition to for our firm and business as a complete.
So, permit me to attempt to draw some humble conclusions for 2019 that could be fascinating and even useful for others, too.
Etihad has adopted a brand new organisational construction a number of months again, and I’ve switched to a strategic advisory function on group degree on international partnerships and innovation.
This was, amongst different causes, triggered to react to the growing complexity of the world all of us reside in.
Questions round how greatest to innovate are being requested in corporations across the globe and in each business, not simply ours.
That the majority of us can not do that on our personal has additionally grow to be more and more apparent – thus, the give attention to partnerships.
In abstract, this can be a response to international macro tendencies which have emerged during the last one or two years.
Across the globe, volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity have elevated.
‘VUCA’, as some have known as this, will not be a brand new phenomenon in any respect.
But, I imagine we now have seen actually unprecedented ranges of VUCA within the final months. The US’s commerce insurance policies, Brexit, Italy’s governmental disaster and the latest socio-political points in France are the plain examples, however they’re only one a part of it.
Now we have additionally witnessed the rise of alleged ‘faux information’, which is, partially, a symptom of usually diminishing belief within the media and different established establishments – together with universities.
All of that is being blended with more and more divisive social gathering politics and public (on-line) debates all over the world.
Our lives have actually not grow to be simpler to navigate.
Unpredictability will additional dominate agenda
For one, ambiguity will definitely proceed.
Developments within the political panorama are troublesome to foretell.
Not solely, however particularly the relations between the US and China may doubtlessly have a really vital influence on many people.
This ties intently into the rise of recent, dominant gamers in Asia that can additional acquire in international relevance, and China as a strong financial power on the whole.
It’s not troublesome to foresee that inventory markets will probably be unstable subsequent 12 months, too.
Even worse, voices are heard that predict a recession someday in 2019 or 2020 .
Extra particularly, for “my” business, oil costs have a big impact on success or failure – and the US and China play an essential function of their improvement.
Occasions are very unsure on this regard, particularly as the difficulty has the potential to succeed in even broader relevance.
Whereas the oil worth has direct relevance right here, the present “yellow-vest protests” in France open our eyes to the results financial wealth can have on the broader neighborhood – and it appears to be like as if political choice making is already being influenced by these developments as nicely.
Give orientation by taking a stand
Not simply belief within the media and different establishments has suffered, additionally company fame has been challenged across the globe (with a number of exceptions in small international locations) due to this all-encompassing common uncertainty.
It has grow to be apparent that corporations can now not conceal behind the catchphrase “the enterprise of enterprise is enterprise”.
The alternative is true.
Firms should act as “compasses” within the VUCA world to navigate by means of the brand new regular that the transformational processes of globalisation have created.
One of many greatest, and fairly frankly most promising, tendencies I see is that business success will probably be intently tied to goal and ethics sooner or later: The ‘why’, not the ‘what.
On the similar time, it’s most likely additionally our single greatest likelihood to regain sustainability in a world disrupted by VUCA.
If you wish to lead a profitable enterprise in 2019, you need to guarantee the corporate you handle or work for takes a stand on societal points.
If nothing else, your stakeholders – and this consists of your individual staff within the first place – count on you to be vocal on subjects folks take care of.
The current Nike marketing campaign is an efficient instance for the way you do that with out dropping give attention to the precise merchandise you manufacture.
Firms are well-advised to consider (and talk) their contributions to society.
It goes with out saying that this additionally implies that belief is king.
It’s now not sufficient to ship the anticipated service to achieve clients’ belief, you need to guarantee they’ll belief you in a wider sense.
With their information, with their id even.
It additionally turns into clear that the administration workforce, notably the chief govt, will need to have a robust voice in all of this.
A enterprise have to be accessible, approachable, genuine always and constant throughout all channels – to the within and the skin – whether or not expressed by means of company values and behaviours, a chief govt’s voice or the company tweet of the day. 
Embrace digitalisation
One different issue, and one I’ve been very captivated with in an earlier opinion piece, that’s fuelling uncertainty is the truth that any business could also be disrupted by the macro development digitisation at virtually any time.
Even when they aren’t straight beneath risk, many sectors must change essentially with a view to survive the quickly altering buying and selling atmosphere, shopper behaviour and expectations.
Nevertheless, we should not neglect what digitisation additionally implies: this can be a disruption that places folks on the coronary heart of the enterprise.
It modifications the best way corporations and types work together with their audiences.
From a purely business-related perspective, that is clearly a chance – if you’re up for it.
New applied sciences reminiscent of augmented actuality, digital actuality, synthetic intelligence, machine studying, the web of issues or voice as an interface will form the relationships between companies and their purchasers an increasing number of.
AI alone will massively influence the ties between companies and their goal audiences – lastly, we are able to strategy our purchasers with what actually issues to them at each step of their journey!
Manufacturers can have the chance to be appreciated dialog companions. 
The channels to succeed in out to your audiences are the numerous – and available.
In abstract, I feel it solely honest to say that greater than ever high administration ought to put a transparent give attention to giving path and orientation in 2019.
It could possibly accomplish that most successfully by being dependable and reliable, by defining and following a understandable goal – and by taking a transparent stand on burning societal points.
I want you a profitable 2019 filled with challenges became alternatives.
Extra Data
Peter Baumgartner was earlier this 12 months appointed to the function of senior strategic advisor to Tony Douglas, chief govt of Etihad Airways, and is a part of the chief management workforce.

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