EAST GREENWICH, RI – Top independent consultants believe 2015 will bring opportunities for ongoing business growth for those organizations who identify and address business trends, according to The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® (SAC).
The Bar Will Be Set Higher
More than 75% of manufacturers and distributors are facing a skills gap, according to Lisa Anderson, known as The Manufacturing ConnectorSM and President of LMA Consulting Group, Inc.., Claremont, CA. This trend will increase in 2015 as baby boomers retire and employees pursue new opportunities, she points out.
"To add fuel to the fire, there will continue to be a significant focus on improving customer service levels and speed. Dramatically reduced lead times will become the assumption. Thus, the on-shoring and near-shoring movement will strengthen in order to address speed and working capital needs as the total cost differential between China and North America becomes negligible."
"Executives must think about strategy immediately in order to get ahead of the curve for 2015. Those who upgrade their people, processes, and systems while ensuring alignment with their strategy will thrive," Anderson adds.
Executive Presence is new "It" Factor
Dr. Maynard Brusman, a consulting psychologist, executive coach, and workplace expert specializing in emotional intelligence and mindfulness-based leadership development notes, "Whether you call it charisma, confidence or compelling leadership, executive presence is the new corporate 'it' factor. Presence comes from deep within you: with intentions, self-knowledge and self-confidence. Intentions drive and create executive presence. Mindful leaders are confident, energetic, empathic, inspirational, and authentic. They use empathy, trust and connection to motivate and inspire others."
According to Dr. Brusman, "Enlightened corporations are seeking individuals with presence whose potential can be developed, partly because of the heightened responsibilities of self-managed teams. People will continue to be assessed for presence in numerous business situations, including hiring, promotions, and performance reviews. Organizations in 2015 will increasingly hire executive coaches to help people cultivate presence. Executive presence will become a key differentiator and critical success factor for company leaders."
Accessible Cash is Critical
Gary Patterson, president and CEO of Atlanta, Georgia, the FiscalDoctor® notes that accessible cash remains the emperor. "Until companies are certain about the accuracy of their balance sheet and are able to forecast cash equivalents six months into the future, they cannot be opportunistic. Where can you liquidate useless inventory and/or money-losing facilities and products in order to free up cash to fund new opportunities?" he asks.
"Reallocation of funds can create new opportunities. Get an outsider review to eliminate 800 pound gorillas and dead rat issues to liberate your people and organization. Leave no stone unturned in reviewing reallocation opportunities so that next year's revenues and net income levels will bring about new opportunities," Patterson said. "Join the 21st century. Stop using budgetary constraints as an excuse for not investing in the latest technologies, including safety systems."
Need for Good Marketing Judgment Grows
Now, more than ever, it's important for organizations to take a critical look at their marketing presence to identify how they can better serve their potential markets, according to marketing expert Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates, and author of the forthcoming book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters.
"We see an ongoing focus on Big Data, but in 2015 it will be even more important for marketing teams to have a solid strategic foundation in place to make the right decisions based on the data available to them. It's as much about applying astute insights as it is about gathering and analyzing available data," she said.
A Major Shift in Geopolitics
According to SAC CEO Alan Weiss, PhD, "In 2015, expect that the geopolitics of oil and energy will shift from the Middle East, that Arab nations will form coalitions to fight terrorists across boundaries, and that the Dow Jones average will exceed 18,000. There will also be the most interesting political campaigns for the presidential nomination in years."