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Brain circuits

Questions your company should be asking to be future-ready

Published 22 October 2021 in Brain circuits • 3 min read

How do companies become future-ready? The pandemic exposed which companies were future-ready, or at least agile enough to change with lightning speed when the landscape shifted. Their readiness was clearly reflected in superior performance compared with their peers. We have studied these companies to identify what they were doing differently. To test if you are doing the right things to be future-ready, you should look at these questions.

 What are the next seismic shifts?

This is the question all executives must constantly be asking about their industry. The better you can anticipate the next big disruptor, the easier it will be to leverage the shift in your company’s favor. You must always be ready to adjust your business practices.

Where are you putting your resources?

We compared the strategies of successful companies, which really means we looked at where they put their resources. Strategy is just a pattern of resource allocation. Are you allocating resources to experimenting? Are you giving your employees room to try things and fail? You need to place small bets on lots of different strategies to test what works.

 What are the managerial principles behind your company’s choices?

You need to understand the human drivers behind a company’s actions, because developing something new requires dedicated focus on resources in a new area. Often this can mean difficult conversations, tough trade-offs and making difficult choices. What are the managerial behaviors behind these company choices?

When something appears to work, are you able to scale up quickly?

During the pandemic, what distinguished those that are winning was not just experimentation, but their ability to scale up. They were able to exploit opportunities to maximum potential in a short time frame. This is the biggest challenge facing executives. It’s not difficult to place small bets and experiment with new things, but many companies struggle with turning from exploration to exploitation, to scale things big with a committed focus.

These questions will help you identify if you are ready to LEAP, meaning jump from your core competency to another knowledge or capability base. Companies that LEAP early or are ready to LEAP when the landscape shifts are the ones that outperform their peers in times of crisis.


Howard Yu - IMD Professor

Howard H. Yu

LEGO® Chair Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD

Howard H Yu is the LEGO® Chair Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD and the Director of IMD’s Center for Future Readiness. He is the author of the award-winning book LEAP: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied. Howard directs our Future Readiness Strategy and Business Growth Strategies programs.


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