Stability is the most important thing any business can hope for.
The last few years have seen massive changes for most businesses. I worked in the print media industry for a few years, and there I saw the devastating effect a changing world can have on a business. They went from being a very financially sound company to one that now reports a net loss for the 2017 financial year. This means that many millions were taken off of the books in a matter of 6 to 7 years. Considering that this happened to a company that has survived for nearly 100 years is scary.
In South Africa, the greater population have also gone through a huge societal and political change and this means that it is extremely difficult to know if the fluctuations in the economy, the riots in the streets, or the many other issues that exist in the country are normal or not. We are constantly asking each other if this thing, be it raising the petrol price, farm murders or yet another delivery protest, is the last straw on the camel’s back. The reason we do this is very simple; we have no benchmark or guideline.
This is what we saw in the media world and continue to see. In my own business, I only have a P/L that could tell me whether we are doing well or not. There is no guide or handbook for me to revert to.
On top of this, we work in a space, and I am sure many other business do as well, where the business side is one element, and disruption is a new normal. Simultaneously we have to constantly hold the many business trends, fads and actual movements into light and consider their value. Be it standing desks, remote working or hot desks, there is very little informing these decisions and with that, very little time to make them in.
Stability also comes in when we consider clients and personnel. The clients we have need to rely on us being able to work consistently, at the same pace and intensity, month in and month out. Their businesses are complex, personalities are varied, and their needs are fuzzy. If you add an ever-changing personnel to this equation then, in my experience, you create only chaos and conflict.
For this reason, I now believe that one of the most important characteristics a company needs to aspire to is stability. Being agile, fast-moving, disrupting and all of these buzzwords are great, but without stability you will not go far.
To do this, as an owner or manager, you need to realise your people are your biggest asset – not a new concept, but this has been proven to me again and again in the last few months where the clients that have strong, stable managers consistently outperform those that have superstars that shine bright for while but fizzle out just as fast.