The World Is Changing — Is It Time to Reinvent Your Company?

In almost every sector, innovation presents exciting opportunities. But for CEOs, the rapidly changing business landscape creates serious concerns about long-term viability. 

In the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2024 Global CEO Survey of nearly 5,000 CEOs, 45% believed that if their companies didn’t alter their current path in some way, they would no longer be viable after a decade.

Business leaders all over the world can benefit from this kind of foresight. Innovation takes time, and by changing course early enough, you might be able to prime your company for success in a changing world. Here’s a look at the changes coming and the steps you can take to reinvent your company.

The Trends Spurring Reinvention

What changes do today’s CEOs see on the horizon? These upcoming disruptions can be divided into two categories: climate change and artificial intelligence.

Climate Change

Climate change is hardly a new issue. For decades, natural ecosystems have been disappearing thanks to human encroachment. But what many business leaders don’t realize is the fact that climate change has the potential to be massively disruptive in the business world. 

According to some estimates, 55% of the global GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature. Climate change isn’t just a concern for environmentalists.

What are business leaders doing about it? Today’s companies have various levels of support for nature-positive initiatives, but many are taking measures like these:

  • Improving energy efficiency
  • Creating new technologies, products, or services with climate-friendly features
  • Starting initiatives to protect workers and assets from the effects of climate change
  • Accounting for climate risk in financial planning
  • Starting initiatives to help workers learn or update skills
  • Investing in nature-based solutions for climate change

This list is a fairly general one. As you may have guessed, more specific solutions depend on your particular sector.

Artificial Intelligence

If you spend any time on the internet at all, you’re aware of the massive impact artificial intelligence (AI) is having on industries everywhere. Generative AI is already being adopted, and it’s showing great promise when it comes to boosting efficiency and cutting costs.

However, as AI continues to roll out, employees in almost every industry remain wary. Because of AI’s efficiency benefits, many employees worry that the technology is coming for their jobs.

The truth is that while AI does have great efficiency benefits for a business, it can’t do everything a human can do. In practice, adopting AI often means that you can let machines handle the tedious tasks while freeing up your employees for more meaningful work.

It’s entirely possible (and usually advisable) to bring your employees with you into your business’s new, AI-assisted chapter. It might mean teaching your people new skills, but you’ll likely be rewarded with greater efficiency.

Innovation for a New Era

“Reinvention” is quite a buzzword in the business world. But if you want to prioritize viability and long-term success, at least some level of reinvention is essential. Here are some suggestions for transforming your company for the better.

Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities

What’s getting in your business’s way? Your answer will depend largely on your sector, but here’s a sampling of common obstacles identified by CEOs:

  • Limited financial resources
  • Bureaucratic restraints
  • Administrative inefficiencies
  • Insufficient skills in the workplace
  • Competing priorities
  • Supply chain instability
  • Insufficient technology

Of course, “turning obstacles into opportunities” is much easier to say than actually do. But it starts with identifying priorities. Pick an obstacle to focus on, and then intentionally work to fix it.

For example, many CEOs feel stymied because their employees lack the necessary skills to transform the business. There are a couple of ways to address this issue. One is to help employees shape their career paths based on their skills — not their job titles alone. Another is to ensure your employees’ goals are aligned with your own. When the whole company — not just the C-suite — is committed to change, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Identify Important Moves and Follow Through

Even small changes make a difference when it comes to reinventing your company for a new age. But you shouldn’t make the mistake of only focusing on small changes. Major moves are important, too. In the PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, these specific innovations were associated with meaningful profit margin increases:

  • Making strategic acquisitions to enhance capabilities
  • Developing new in-house technologies
  • Shifting to regional (as opposed to global) supply chains
  • Developing new products/services
  • Forming new strategic partnerships
  • Implementing new pricing models

Don’t try to divide your efforts across multiple major innovations at once. You’ll see better results and better profits if you focus on one at a time.

Make Climate-Friendly Changes

Not every business has a significant impact on climate change. If yours does, it’s worth making environment-friendly changes — even if it reduces profits in the short term.

Why? In the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2023 Global Investors Survey, two-thirds of surveyed investors said they thought companies should allocate funds for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues even if it temporarily lowered profits. The investor interest in green technology and climate-friendly innovations shows no signs of slowing down, so this is a consideration to keep in mind for the long term.

Be on the Lookout for Changes

It’s possible to forecast some of the major industry disruptors, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into any surprises. Part of keeping your company viable is keeping an eye out for inflection points, encroaching competitors, and other potential threats. The goal isn’t to be paranoid — it’s to identify changes early enough to adapt, overcome, and emerge more successful than before.

Uncertainty: An Impetus for Meaningful Change

Many CEOs harbor significant anxieties about the future of business. This is completely understandable, but it also represents a turning point. 

CEOs who let themselves be paralyzed by anxiety might be left behind as worldwide innovation outpaces their businesses. But CEOs who see the opportunity in upheaval have the opportunity to transform their companies like never before. Which will you be?