Rashmi Dube: How the next ten years can shape your business

Rashmi Dube, founding partner of Legatus Law.
Rashmi Dube, founding partner of Legatus Law.
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Happy new decade readers. We have entered the year 2020 with nuances of hope, indifference and determination, which is a far cry from the previous decade which we entered amid a financial crisis and global recession.

As we get older it becomes easier for us to forgot just how much we have achieved in such a short time span. In the last 10 years, we have seen advancement particularly with the internet and social media.

We also saw global warming becoming more noticeable and greater action being voiced. Given so much has happened in such a short period, I think it is fruitful to review the past 10 years within the life of your business or if it is not that old, since the time of conception. It is a great opportunity to see just how far you have travelled and what obstacles and bumps you have overcome.

This will help you see where we are moving towards and anticipate the next 10 years’ bumps but also just maybe reveal something bigger, such as realising that as a business you have a new purpose or a different way of viewing the current purpose that brings the company in line with one common goal.

An example often cited is Netflix and its memo by CEO Reed Hastings. In 2013, the document was released to employees and investors detailing “a commitment to move from just distributing content digitally to become a leading producer of original content that could win Emmys and Oscars”.

Since unveiling that new purpose, Netflix revenue has roughly tripled, its profits have multiplied 32-fold, and its stock CAGR has increased 57 per cent annually, versus 11 per cent for the S&P 500. (Harvard Business Review)

It would have been easy for Netflix to say we are making money and doing well but by reviewing the market both in terms of competition and changes with technology and consumption, they understood where they needed to be. By sending the memo, the CEO wanted to ensure that everyone also had the same purpose. Embarking on a new purpose is not always easy and sometimes resistance can be felt but you have to find a way. Siemens decided in 2014 to transform with a plan called ‘Vision 2020’ that called for harnessing technologies such as AI and the Internet of Things.

However, in order to change the mission, you have to change the culture. “The biggest obstacle to any transformation is literally just the way we’ve always done things,” says Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton.

“Infusing a higher purpose into the company called for pushing decision making out from the centre to every business unit, so that managers and rank-and-file employees feel they have a stake in future success… Ownership culture is central to everything,” Humpton says. So, as I look back over the last ten years, I see overall the world economy grew by more than a third and life expectancy increased – but of course progress does not always mean things get better for everyone. The North, and particularly Yorkshire, has felt for such a long time now the poor relation to London. But if we take my advice and look back, we see currents of change with the brands and types of business we have attracted. Yet this is not enough. Working as a collective will make the business arena stronger. As the region’s businesses enter this decade, they do so at a critical turning point for Yorkshire’s future.

The region is in need of many things from better infrastructure, better transport, more investment for exports and to ensure as a region we are on the cutting edge of technology and its revolution.

How successful the next 10 years largely depends not so much on which sector you fall within but on how agile you are in adapting to change. If the previous decade has taught us anything, it is that change is happening every second of the day and we cannot just keep up but must be in front.

Let these 20s be roaring and something that we look back on in a decade and go “I can’t believe we achieved so much and touched so many lives”.