Posted: 26 Jan. 2021 3 min.

A business leader’s New Year’s resolution: Adapt and transform

Topic: Makroperspektiver, ledelse og strategi and Megatrends

In many ways, 2020 has been a challenging year. In the spring, the Danish society, business landscape and economic outlook changed drastically overnight. Although the outlook was dark, COVID-19 has proved that companies and society are able to adapt and overcome major obstacles when it counts. These abilities have undoubtedly helped Danish companies get through the crisis in a better fashion than many of us first feared. Based on the development in the OMXC25 index, Danish companies may even have performed relatively better than their peers.

We have now entered 2021, and in my mind, there is no doubt that this year will yet again challenge business leaders to adapt to unforeseen changes and to transform their organisations to keep up with the competition, changes in customer expectations and consumer behaviour as well as the demands of society.

For business leaders to be successful in this situation, they must be optimistic, show resilience and cultivate agility across their organisations. Fortunately, the last nine months has shown us what it takes. The new year calls for everyone to keep it up.

Looking back at 2020, it is clear to me that the pandemic did not slow down the megatrends that are transforming businesses and organisations across the globe. Actually, we have witnessed quite the contrary. We are in a situation where companies are leveraging technology to accelerate their transformations; naturally, technology is still used to drive higher efficiency, but we also see that companies are changing the way they go to market, and some companies may even use technology to change the entire business model.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency is sprinting into the digital age

One example of fundamentally changing the way of working is the quantum leap that the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been taking into the digital age. New technologies have enabled the agency to perform old tasks and processes faster and much more frequently. By fully utilising the advantages of data analytics and the newest technologies, the EPA can take even better care of the Danish nature and environment.

Obviously, digitalisation is not new to Danish organisations. What is new, however, is the speed in which the digital transformation journey has taken place.

Coop embeds sustainability

Another megatrend that continues to accelerate is sustainability. From being mainly a compliance issue, sustainability is now a key element in companies’ strategies. This is due to a number of factors: More and more customers demand sustainable products; employees want their employers to take a stronger social responsibility; and investors continue to handpick companies with a green profile.

And of course: If we are to save the world and create a better future for our children, action from businesses, the government and us as individuals is needed!

One company leading the way is Coop, which is the first supermarket chain in Denmark to announce a comprehensive commercial climate strategy and to embed sustainability into the core of its business operations . The purpose of the strategy is not only to significantly reduce Coop’s carbon emissions but also to inspire other companies in the global retail industry to implement more ambitious climate strategies. Coop embarks on this transformational journey to become a more sustainable business while staying commercially profitable.

Appealing narrative and purpose

Many can probably agree that 2020 has been a year with much uncertainty and limited opportunity to make forecasts. Yet, management was still forced to make quick decisions despite ambiguities. For this to be possible, leaders and decision makers needed to be completely aligned on the strategic direction. I believe that companies with an appealing narrative and strong purpose will find themselves better off in this unique situation.

Take Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) for example . CIP has become one of the world’s leading green infrastructure investment companies, and since 2012, it has helped the world transition from black to green energy. Despite the rather short company history, CIP has already become a global leader, a market pioneer and the largest financial sponsor with a dedicated renewable energy infrastructure focus. Today, CIP holds seven funds with more than USD 10bn as well as offices all over the world from New York to Tokyo.

2020 was characterised by the pandemic, and the pandemic-related challenges and uncertainty will likely continue into 2021, but now we all put our faith in the vaccines. However, this does not mean that business leaders should stop being proactive and transforming their businesses to keep up with the accelerating megatrends as this defines successful businesses and has a positive impact on society.

More about the author

Christian Jensby

Christian Jensby

Partner

Christian is leading the 'Clients and Industries' organisation in Deloitte Denmark and is responsible for our go-to-market approach towards our clients – ensuring they get the best of Deloitte to support their transformation journey. To stay market-leading in public sector, financial services, energy, resources and industries, consumer, life science and technology, media and telecoms, Christian ensures that we combine our specialist knowledge with deep industry and sector know-how as well as leverage the global network of Deloitte experts to help our clients compete in the global, digital economy. Christian has 19 years of experience at Deloitte and has supported industry-leading clients to deliver end-to-end transformations, particularly within the finance area. He has worked with clients across the private and financial sector and advised their C-Suite members on their most challenging strategic and transformation journeys.