Crises are normal, according to ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott. And the best organisations – the ones that will emerge from these ordeals bigger and better – are built to see the impact of crises earlier than others and position themselves accordingly, he said.
Speaking to ANZ Senior Economist Catherine Birch on video as part of ANZ’s annual Finance & Treasury Forum, Elliott said the world had seen throughout the pandemic how astute companies were willing to learn, adapt and succeed.
“[In crisis], consumers suddenly have these new needs,” he said on video. “And we learn, ‘Hey, some of this is actually pretty good and we want more of those things’.
“And great organisations have the ability to see some of that earlier than others. But then actually get in the right place to benefit from it.”
Watch the video below – an excerpt from a longer conversation - to find out more.
The hard part
For Elliott, sometimes seeing what’s coming is the easy bit - it’s getting the organisation to move in that direction that is hard.
“Can you get there fast enough, before somebody else does, to be a beneficiary of that foresight?” he said.
“What we've been trying to do at ANZ… is unlock that agility in the organisation… to be able to get in the right place for the future. I imagine that's true for lots of organisations.”
Elliott agreed the world is “rapidly changing” but said that was an almost constant state.
“I always hesitate when people say 'the rate of change is higher than before’,” he said. “I'm not so sure that's true.
“If you're a student of history, and you stand back a little bit, [you begin to see] fast, rapid change - call it crisis - is the norm globally.
“Really great organisations, ultimately, are ones that are flexible, agile [and] nimble.”
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Elliott said organisations capable of this adaptive behaviour possess two key elements.
“One, they're curious about the future, [and have] that sort of growth-mindset idea of an organisation” he said.
That needs to be part of the “software of an organisation,” Elliott said.
The second factor, Elliott said, is the organisation needs to be “built in a way that allows it to actually change”.
When businesses are as established as ANZ, they generally have been “built in a way that's very fixed”, he said.
The question then, according to Elliott, is “how do you unlock the organisation to be able to change at pace?”.
“Those are the ways I think about successful organisations today,” he said.
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