What would be the most valuable solution to help your business?

Well, that’s a million-dollar question if ever we asked one, but it’s an interesting concept to wrap some grey matter around.

By Catherine Buckley, B4 Associate Editor

The question was posed at a University of California, Berkeley conference involving companies like Adobe and Venture Capitalists like BGV (Benhamou Global Ventures), all out of Silicon Valley. 

The answer, arrived at by the group after a short debate, was something that enabled ‘faster and safer decision making’.

One of the key reasons that our B4 community works as well as it does… our members build long term, trusted relationships and have the ability to contact each other to ask for help.

Because of the bond between our members, they give each other honest advice which can help them either make the right decision or avoid making costly decisions – hence helping their businesses work faster and safer.

B4 Members Predli are directly linked to UC Berkeley through one of Predli’s founders, Alex Fred Ojala, is still a member of the UC Berkeley Teaching Faculty.

Graham Caleb, Board Member at Predli, said: “The webinar was in the context of recognising we are now entering (and some would say are already in) the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is being driven by technology.

“In 2022, the Fourth industrial revolution sees technology as not just advancing but improving at a rate unlike anything we’ve seen before.”

As many philosophers have earned a crust by saying, ‘the only constant is change’, and as a business, if you don’t at least keep up with change, or moreover ride it like the crest of a wave, you are going to fall behind when it comes to success.

Technological advancements are great, better phones, smarter TVs, faster internet, all fabulous.

But you have to buy them, learn how to use them, update them, link them… it can become a full-time job keeping on top of it all, and that’s just in our personal lives.

For society, these advancements are having a huge impact on the way we live and function.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has closely studied ‘the fourth industrial revolution,’ which it describes as a mix of “globally changing business models and job markets triggered by technological progress.”

Among the top findings in the report for 2022 are:

  • 85% of businesses are expected to expand their efforts in big data analytics
  • 42% of work hours will be performed by machines
  • 54% of workers will need a significant amount of reskilling. New skills include – analytical thinking, innovation, technology design and programming
  • 23-37% (depending on the industry) of companies are planning to invest in robots
  • 16-27% increase in new roles across all industries.

Graham concludes as follows. “The upshot, many would argue of all this fast change, is that organisations are and will remain stressed as they navigate changes. There are also decisions to take over what people are needed for what roles or what technological solutions need to be put in place to carry some of the load.

“Some people are hiring more and creating new roles, and some people are outsourcing or looking for systems and software to do the work for them.

“But it’s clear that rapid and safer decision making will differentiate the ‘winners’ from the ‘also rans.’”

“It’s not just about the speed of decision making, it’s about making decisions based on accurate information. That information comes from interpreting hard and soft forms of data, and that’s where the problem lies.

That’s the opinion of B4 Chairman Frank Nigriello, who has spent several decades working with business leaders in both small and large organisations

“Business leaders often gain access to market reports, surveys and other forms of ‘hard’ data that need careful analysis.

“Unfortunately, people have a tendency to cherry pick elements of the data that support their personal bias.  While we will increasingly rely on artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics to shape decision making, ultimately business leaders will need the personal skills to overcome their unconscious bias to make better decisions.”

“Similarly, ‘soft data’ – the opinions, views and observations of colleagues or peers – can deliver useful insights. That’s where networks like B4 are invaluable in providing trusting connections between business leaders and a forum for sharing views,” he added.

So, we posed the question What would be the most valuable solution to help your business? to some of our B4 members and here’s what they had to say:

B4 member comments:

Alison Griffin, Managing Director, Telford International Centre:

“The way we communicate has changed rapidly with the sheer force of online, digital, and social media channels.  Our language has changed – shorter, informal, image-led – and speaking in person or by phone may be passe to some. 

“But all communications should be embraced and never at the expense of human connectivity.  The most valuable solution to our business is our people and the way we interact well to serve and succeed.  Leaders devise strategies and get the best results with a team aligned to a clear and shared direction. It’s people who resolve barriers to business and it is people who celebrate the wins and achievements.

“A company using the constant of its people combined with well-shaped communications will likely find riding change and delivering growth effortless.”

Alan Wick FRSA, Business Coach and Consultant:

“Creating a culture that has ‘Psychological Safety’. A few years ago, Google undertook

‘Project Aristotle’, the aim of which was to codify the traits of their best performing teams.

They studied 180 teams, conducted over 200 interviews, and analysed over 250 different

team attributes. They found five key characteristics of their best performing teams:

  1. Dependability,
  2. Structure and clarity
  3.  Meaning
  4. Impact
  5. Psychological Safety.

“This is a culture in which everyone is safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask

judgment-free questions. A culture where managers provide air cover and create safe zones

so, employees can let down their guard. That’s Psychological Safety.”

Peter McLintock, Partner, and joint head of Mills & Reeve’s Oxford office:

“Since the advent of the computer, businesses have looked to technology to find a competitive advantage and those who evolved the quickest emerged as leaders.

Today, this transformation is happening again. This time with data – the newest battle ground to gain that competitive advantage.

“Those who harness the data at their disposal will thrive and that’s why we’re looking to develop our data capabilities to unlock the power of the data running through our business.

We’re building the power to deliver insightful intelligence to our clients through the ability to structure, analyse and interpret data – supercharging our value add.”

To find out more about B4 visit www.b4-business.com

To become a member of B4 Oxfordshire, contact CEO Richard Rosser at richard@b4-business.com

To become a member of B4 Shropshire, contact Victoria Charnley, regional director B4 Shropshire at victoria@b4- business.com

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