Notwithstanding our best intentions, it’s almost the end of the year and most of us haven’t run a marathon or fixed those uncanny challenges of businesses. 2017 is on its way out, and while much remains the same a lot has changed for the better. What has changed in your personal and corporate life so far?
According to Paul A. Laudicina and Erik R. Peterson, in today’s increasingly volatile world, it is difficult to speculate about what might happen next week; predicting the course of events over the next year is even more challenging. Shifting attitudes and heightened tensions in society, rising populism and nationalism in politics, and rapid technological change are all contributing to significant uncertainty in the external environment. There are, therefore, some domains for which one cannot make predictions for the year ahead with any reasonable degree of certainty. Despite this mounting volatility and complexity, there is a compelling case for the ongoing need to scan for future developments. Let us look at some areas to consider for 2018:
One of the most important challenges of management development concerns the transition from leading a particular function or single specialty to leading a business in 2018: successful business leadership that is leading an organization with multiple functions and profit responsibility calls for strong leadership skills in 2018 – interpersonal effectiveness, communication, and influence – as well as business skills – understanding strategy, designing organizations and driving execution. All forms of business leadership in 2018 will necessitate the above traits and skills for not only ascending movement in the corporate hierarchy, but also progress and success. We should all remember leadership is all about people, getting the job done, relationships and character.
My definition for character is what will be said about you when you are no longer at the same position at the end of 2018 and beyond. Be mindful of all the organizational politicians and sycophants – they have killed many business leaders this year.
A microscope is being used to examine men’s behaviour in the workplace during the latter half of 2017: sex desire or “chemistry of the mind” is the most powerful of human desires; control it before it controls you and your leadership career.
Facial recognition technology will become ubiquitous
Paul A. Laudicina and Erik R. Peterson point out that facial recognition software is already used more than most people realize. Early forms of the technology have been in existence since as far back as the 1960s, and there has been a notable uptick in its application over the past year. For example, it is now used to verify ride-hailing app drivers’ identities in China and the Middle East. And scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the US National Institutes of Health, have used facial recognition software to diagnose a rare genetic disease in minority populations.
Some churches in the United States have used 3D facial recognition software to track membership and solicit donations from regular attendees. And, as if scripted from the pages of the 1956 sci-fi novella The Minority Report, facial recognition is now used in some brick-and-mortar stores and urban billboards to personalize marketing and pricing to passersby. Perhaps more disconcerting, researchers at Stanford University recently published a study in which they argue that the technology can be used for physiognomic purposes, including determining an individual’s sexual orientation. And finally, the September launch of the iPhone X, which includes a facial recognition feature to unlock the home screen, has catapulted facial recognition technology into the global zeitgeist in a big way.
The awareness and use of facial recognition technology will grow dramatically in 2018, building on the significant progress that has already been made. In the next year, the technology will spread rapidly, affecting many aspects of our daily lives. Few of us will even be aware that we are being “recognized” by facial recognition technology. This will raise privacy and security concerns, which will lead governments and civil liberty advocates to clash over the extent to which facial recognition can be used for surveillance and national security purposes. This debate may be brought more squarely in front of policymakers and the general public in the event of a terrorist attack—or the threat of one—for which facial recognition technology could be invaluable for finding suspects.
Meanwhile, many businesses and consumers will be drawn to the technology because of its power and simplicity of use, and the potential to capitalize on untapped markets. As a result, the producers of OLED panels, an essential component of facial recognition devices, will enjoy increasing demand for their product while also coming under pressure to reduce the high cost of these panels.
Firas Jaber – International Personal Development Coach, writes the following advice to individuals as we look ahead for 2018: “There is no doubt in my mind that, in this age we live in, one can do business on a global scale just from the touchscreen of his/her smartphone device. Truly, this is the age of mobility and infinite possibilities.
The mobility that the smartphone gives has opened our way and results in freedom to transact from wherever we are, and at whatever time, with very little limitation as compared to other computing and communication devices of our age.
The smartphone power and its potential is forever going to grow, so we’d better harness it now and avoid wasting time on trivial matters that one can do on such a device.
Let’s prepare to look at this device as one of enormous power, to transact business, virtually initiate and develop relationships with business partners; look for apps or create apps that can do more for us in terms of creativity, productivity and efficiency.
Harness the potential and possibilities that come with your smartphone device: when it comes to business investing, this device is one with exponential returns and we should be glad that competition is controlling its price tag this much.
Predicting the future depends on your own interest in designing your life. Design your own life today if you have not done so already. Take advantage of this exponential power you hold in the palm of your hand to make it materialize in reality.
The world is full of opportunities unprecedented in human history. Being in a certain country doesn’t limit you to that country anymore. Predict your own future, by using your God-given right to think and create your own future and results. What better way to write down your thoughts and materialize them is there than with and through your mobile phone? What an asset you possess!!! Of course, the best investment of all in predicting your future is, and will always be, your mind.
Open up your mind to the truth of it being your creative power to be, do and have whatever it is that you really want. Cherish and hold onto your ideas. Believe in them. Learn as much as you possibly can about the mind. A great start is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Predictions of the future begin with you. May you never be the same. To your success in 2018”
Marketing and advertising
The personalization of marketing: “Marketing is becoming increasingly personal, and this trend will keep going as we move into the new year. No longer will stock images, generic nurturing campaigns, or impersonal calls to action convince consumers. In order to succeed, you’ll have to provide high-value and personalized content every step of the way”. – Harrison Doan, director of analytics at Saatva.
Modern marketing tools make personalization possible: “While email marketing has traditionally been a one-to-many medium, it’s a great example of this trend being brought to life as we continue to see an increased focus on more customized messaging heading into 2018. A major catalyst behind this shift toward one-to-one has been advances in personalization technology, especially click segmentation. Personalizing email marketing is especially valuable because small businesses often have a variety of products, yet not every offering will necessarily appeal to every customer on an email list.” – Dave Charest, director of content marketing at Constant Contact, an Endurance International Group company
AI will emerge as a critical marketing tool: “In the past executives may have tinkered with AI to schedule their calendars, but 2018 will see an end of the experimental phase and the beginning of applying artificial intelligence to solve the most soul-crushing marketing problems. For example, conversational AI companies like Conversica will make it possible for PR companies to harness conversational AI for lead-nurturing and finding new clients. CRM companies like Helpshift will streamline customer service. AI, however, won’t replace traditional media relations. Journalism deserves a human touch that AI is not yet able to mimic.” – Curtis Sparrer, principal at Bospar PR.
Social advertising will become more competitive: “For paid social ads in Facebook, the 2018 landscape will continue to get far more competitive. Facebook advertising is still in its ‘Golden Age’, but the company is growing the number of advertisers at a very rapid pace. While large companies jumped on the Facebook ad bandwagon some time ago, there is significant long-tail growth among SMBs which still have not embraced Facebook ads fully, and the vast majority are not advertising there. The end result of this is Facebook will continue to accelerate the number of advertisers it has with SMBs, and CPM and CPC cost will rise for all Facebook advertisers.” – Toby Danylchuk, co-founder of 39 Celsius Web Marketing
There will be growth in small business cross-channel marketing: ” Very few small businesses today do any sort of cross-channel strategic advertising. Many owners even have separate vendors for Facebook, Google, web content, web maintenance, etc. Large brands do this rather well, and I believe in 2018 we will see small businesses utilizing integrated strategies – and these small businesses will outperform their competitors.” – Bill Gaines, digital marketing director of Custom Creatives.
Machine-learning will become more responsive in customer service: “Machine learning will play a bigger role in sales and customer support in 2018. Lower costs and increased availability of speech analytics tools mean more businesses will record and monitor calls within their contact centres. Instead of simply guiding callers through prompts, speech analytics will help to categorize them and analyze responses in terms of what you say and how you say it. Insights like these will be used to guide agents, in real time, to get the best results from each interaction.” – Chad Hart, head of strategic products at Voxbone.
The modern workplace
The evolution of the workplace: “The physical workspace as we know it today is going to significantly change next year, as businesses start to get smart about how they use space to drive productivity and adapt to new employee behaviours and tech tools. Large companies will also look to reduce their real estate commitments and move more to flexi-desk options as more employees work away from the office, while being connected to it by making use of better tools that help them do their work more effectively.” – Craig Walker
Expect the number of remote workers to continue increasing: “Only 32 percent of employees spent all their time working in/at their office this year; the flexibility to work remotely has evolved beyond an occasional perk, with 43 percent of employees saying it’s a must-have.” – Staples Business Advantage’s Annual Workplace Survey
Workplaces will unveil bolstered anti-harassment policies: “With such a magnifying glass being put on men’s behavior in the workplace in the latter half of 2017, 2018 is going to see a lot of anti-sexual harassment training in workplaces, as well as anti-harassment policies being beefed-up.” – Rob Swystun, business communication specialist.
How do these business and personal expectations get you thinking about changes in your business? What trends do you think should have made the list? The power is yours. Happy New Year!
The writer is a| Management Consultant | Spint Consult Limited | [email protected] |+233-302-915421