What to Watch For in 2012


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The end of the year is coming to a rapid close. It seems like yesterday we were sipping beer by the pool and thinking about suntans and now the thoughts turn to ending the year on balance while attacking the emerging trends of next year.

Clearly our business landscape has been altered by numerous factors but those most influential while also uncontrollable are political, economic and technical changes. These systems create reaction by certain organizations and innovation for others. Yet most pressing is that these issues create trends for the coming months and perhaps next few years and small business attempts to emerge from recessionary issues.

In volatile times it will be necessary for organizations to remain ahead of the curve rather than chasing it. Business today moves too quickly because of globalization and the web. Avoiding trends or becoming cocky towards them might mean the difference between surviving and thriving.

Some of the top business trends that I envision in 2012 include:

  1. Contingent Workers – While there appears good news across the spectrum the facts are that we need to add more jobs than what is currently available. It appears that organizations will remain cautious about hiring while also becoming keen to employment volatility. Let’s face it; the notion is always about the bottom line. And with health care costs continually rising, organizations will need to keep costs low. The best way to remain profitable is hiring contingent and temporary workers. Doing so helps with three vital elements: 1) firms keep costs low by making contingent employees pay for taxes, benefits and office space, 2) rapid application and production are possible by hiring contingent workers across the globe working round the clock to deliver time critical products and services 3) organizations can move more quickly through product cycles and quality care by using more “quick strike” efforts to move product. This notion will also hold as employees dislocate the time honored loyalty factor for both work/life balance and more interesting work.
  2. Sales Professionals – Organizations have harmed themselves over the last 20 years by allocating very high salaries and holding onto the risk of sales effort. Whether sales professionals performed or not – they got paid. As organizations look at costs and risk, they will attempt to alleviate both. It appears that sales representatives will be paid a minimal or zero based salary while organizations incentivize staff with high commission allocation. The risk must return where it belongs with the sales representative. Nothing happens without a sale and sales people must show results.
  3. Self Development – Steven Covey the famous author and speaker once stated that employees are treated as liabilities to organizations. This is true. As many know one of those liabilities is training. When firms make money there is training, when not it is the first line item cut. And this recession has caused many firms to look at tuition reimbursement. I have always held that self-development is just that meant for you. Firms should not be responsible for helping to create your future – you must. In an ever-changing global market there will be a need to constantly hone skills to ensure you are the best at your function. It will be necessary to constantly improve skills sets on a monthly or semi annual basis to remain ahead of the curve.
  4. Virtual Work – Many since the days of 9-11 seek work/life balance and there are numerous organizations that have responded. With so little time in a crazy busy world and the desire to lessen commutes many prefer to work virtually. Coincidentally virtual teams also benefit small and large organizations because there is less need to pay the high cost of commercial space and workers actually work around the clock versus a strict “8 hour day.” Research has shown that more work is getting done in less time. Beware your office mate is only a Skype call away!
  5. Change will become the norm – Let’s face it; we are in a global world that is getting more competitive each moment. The power of technology, the media and simple communications provide us with more content then ever before. Just as in 1963 viewers were captivated by television, today we are captivated by instant news and tweets. As such changes are made rapidly due to news and this will be the norm. In order to remain competitive change will be a daily occurrence.

Stay tuned for my next columns where I depict the major changes in 2012 in customer service, marketing and business development.

© 2012. Drew Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Drew Stevens
Drew J. Stevens Ph.D. (Dr. Drew) is the author of Split Second Selling and the soon to be released Ultimate Business Bible and six other business books on sales, customer loyalty, self mastery and business development solutions. Drew helps organizations to dramatically accelerate revenue and outstrip the competition. He conducts over 4 international keynotes, seminars and workshops per year.


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