Business Leaders Need to Anticipate Change

Dynamism is necessary for growth and for businesses to thrive in the 21st century. The initiative needs to come from business leaders, writes Asseged G. Medhin (, deputy CEO of operations at the National Insurance Company of Ethiopia (NICE).

Leadership can easily be viewed as getting things done through people. Leading is nothing but influencing an essential asset – the human mind. Leaders are the minds of businesses, whose initiatives and goals can be achieved by injecting into the vein of the organisation the best assets for the most efficient achievement of tasks.

If we look back over the decades, we can mark business progress in the realm of interactions and integrations that are moulded by gifted minds. The more coordination and streamlining of processes, the more progress that has been realised.

It is the combination of organisational talent, the courage to attempt new ventures and the determination to see goals reached that has allowed humanity to fulfill its communication, transport, entertainment, financial and housing needs and live a more comfortable and convenient life.

In a dynamic business environment, it is leaders that show the light through the tunnel and arrive at a venture that is both profitable to owners and useful to consumers.

When industries and products become stale, leaders inject fresh minds into their structures for evolution to take place. And when an unforeseen catastrophe or bankruptcy looms large, leaders must be able to recognise the adverse situation and change gears to re-engineer the business model.

Business leaders do so less out of a desire to see profit in a year or even a decade but to assure the maximum possible long-term sustainability of the business. To some, this trait has to be formed through trial and error, but to the most intuitive among us, it comes naturally.

Business leaders ought to anticipate change and embrace that reality. It is just as admirable to attempt to manipulate that reality and disrupt the status quo. What matters most is that these choices are calculated, the challenges acknowledged, and there is the courage to embrace them head on.

In the 21st century, both the style and art of leadership has changed. More importantly, it is in an active and continual process of adjustment given globalisation and the unprecedented speed of technological advancement.

One of the chief challenges has been to retain customers. They want perfection from the services or products provided and are willing to walk away at any indication that they will not find it. They consider it a right that has to be afforded them with all the available resources of a business. This is exceptionally challenging for businesses.

Business leaders, therefore, cannot personally see to it that every demand is attended to. They instead have to come up with a strategy and adaptive environment that embraces acute change. They require a professional and dynamic team to survive. The capacity of a business is not merely the physical resources that the company has but the ability of the team to adapt and that of the leader to sense it.

The adaptability and inclusion that is perceptible on the political front of the current administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) could serve as a useful input for businesses, especially in the financial sector. The sector needs it given the rigidity that has become rampant in the past decade.

Abiy’s administration has shown us that dynamism can awaken spirits and realise objectives we thought were impossible just months ago.

Who would have thought that the EPRDFites would consider privatisation of one of the most profitable state enterprises or the establishment of a stock market?

Globalisation and technology provide us with opportunities that if utilised productively could far outweigh risks and threats. Businesses need the support of the government for the realisation of healthy competition, but industry leaders should as well take the initiative to innovate and produce more without having to be prodded by government bodies. The eagerness that currently affects EPRDF’s leadership needs to permeate the business environment too.

Leaders do not need to accept the self-limiting assumptions that we have been stuck in for the last decade. They must build professional teams and move forward. This is part and parcel of the 21st-century business environment in the developed world.

The world we live in is a result of many radical and risky ventures. From the Morse code to the telephone, from the bicycle to the automobile, from the radio to television, from the library to the World Wide Web, we have reached the current level of civilisation merely because of our ability to disrupt.

What business leaders have to understand is that there is an ongoing change in the world, and Ethiopia will inevitably be a part of it. Leaders need to anticipate this and walk in accordance with the change.


By Asseged G. Medhin
Asseged G. Medhin (, deputy CEO of operations at the National Insurance Company of Ethiopia (NICE).

Published on Aug 04,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 953]



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