2024 is here, what is your aspiration for the year ahead?
As we embark on this new chapter, Raj Mendes reflects on the year that’s past and looks ahead to 2024 with a clear aspiration
Welcome to 2024, and hopefully, you are returning refreshed following a challenging 2023.
As often, towards the end of a year, many people feel fatigued and exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically; in my observation, 2023 seemed more challenging than previous years. Has life changed so much post-COVID? As individuals, we were, and still are, facing many challenges, and as organisations, we were and still are, too.
I want to touch on some of these challenges and discuss the potential root causes and some ideas and frameworks that may help.
The Key Challenges of 2023
Macroeconomic, geopolitical, climate change and post-COVID societal and behavioural changes have brought on a number of the challenges we faced last year.
Lack of innovation
Differentiation often requires an organisation to innovate its offering. Still, as a recent study revealed, Australian organisations are 'incapable of innovating', with up to 95 per cent of small and medium-sized firms lacking the ambition to grow, instead operating as risk-averse "lifestyle businesses". That's a worrying statement!
The implications of stunted innovation are significant. If the statement is true, we have an issue regarding our future prosperity.
Lack of innovation influences our country's productivity, and it is correlated with the standard of living. In December, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced that as of September 2023, Australia’s quarterly economic growth slowed to just 0.2%, which, if sustained, provides a dreary outlook for our country. The RBA warned that our productivity as a nation needs to increase to avoid further inflation and interest rate rises.
These are big themes, so how do we set ourselves, our teams, and our organisation up to cut through these issues?
I'll share my response, hoping it can serve you, too.
Aspiration is at the heart of success.
A clear and compelling aspiration can be the defining element in a strategy and can ground you and your organisation as you navigate these challenges. At the core of many decisions is an aspiration that gives purpose and direction while offering clarity to others.
A good aspiration is:
- Inspirational. It rallies people around a common purpose or vision and inspires creativity and curiosity. It is motivating.
- Specific. It provides a clear direction for execution, grounded in first principles and critical thinking with ambiguity minimised.
- Ambitious. It requires stretching people's soft and hard skills.
Aspiration can come from anywhere - context, stage of life, mentors or heroes, imagining the art of the possible. What you see and hear and all the people you surround yourself with can inspire aspiration.
Aspiration is the heart of success for individuals and organisations. For individuals, it's what gets you up in the morning. For organisations, it's the fundamental anchor point of your strategy. It sets the basis for a tangible future that everyone, organisation-wide, can strive for and achieve
Start 2024 with aspiration and purpose.
I am sharing this year's aspirations for myself and The Customer Experience Company.
Playing a more prominent role in technology powered by human-centred design to innovate
Tech projects cost more, take longer to build and deliver less value. We have more technology than ever, which should help us to innovate and improve productivity, yet we see such under-optimisation. I want CEC to play a more significant role in delivering technology outcomes at multiple levels of improvement. This goal is to increase productivity and position our clients to be more resilient and adaptable in the face of evolving economic and societal landscapes.
Sharing what we've learned over 20 years
We celebrated CEC's 20th anniversary last year. We've worked on exceptionally complex and challenging customer-centric projects and have been part of many successful collaborations and partnerships. During the year, I want to share more of what we've learned in the hope that you find them helpful in your context.
So, I end with a final thought. What is your aspiration for 2024? As part of an organisation but also on a personal level. Are your aspirations inspirational, motivating, and ambitious?
A genuine aspiration will give you direction for the year ahead.