Now is different (2)
A week ago I posted here on how now is different, and how old ways of doing business in the wine trade need to change. It met with a range of responses, from highly positive, to highly negative.
I've been thinking some more on these issues.
I think a different type of leadership is needed in times of difficulty and rapid change. There are people who do a very competent, effective job when conditions for business are stable and benign, but whose skill sets are likely to be unsuited to tougher times of rapid flux.
The organizations that are going to find things very difficult are those with managers at the helm rather than leaders.
Here's an important point: sometimes changing nothing and carrying on just as before is the most effective strategy. But if this is the chosen route, then people need to be led into it - it needs to be communicated that the decision to carry on is an active choice, and people need to buy into this.
However, I suspect that in the current difficult economic climate strategies of 'batten down the hatches' and 'ride out the storm', might lead to failure - albeit a slower, more drawn-out failure than would otherwise have been the case.
Think of a parallel with evolution. Rapid shifts in climate, for example, threaten those species least able to adapt rapidly. Typically, larger animals with longer generation times and higher energy requirements will be more at risk. Smaller animals, able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances may be better off. New niches will appear and these will offer opportunities for some.
While economic downturn is bad news for most, there will be some winners. Wine companies must make sure they are being led by leaders who are set free to lead, and not crippled by fear, with cautious managers making all the decisions. There is a risk in this, but failure to take risks will be even riskier, in that it looks doomed to failure. We may see a much changed wine market emerge the other side of the current crisis.