Business Leaders In Greater Need of Agility and Adaptability Today, Says McKinney Consulting's Steve McKinney

McKinney Consulting

Agility and adaptability have always been positive qualities for a business to possess. However, today's rapidly changing business environment has made it even more imperative that companies are agile and adaptable in order to not only survive, but to thrive.

According to Steve McKinney, President and Founder of McKinney Consulting, factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of AI have resulted in huge changes to the way people work and businesses are run. Many workplaces are now decentralized, and many jobs need more than just basic computer skills. The ability to understand data and information, as well as what to do with it, is now a crucial requirement in the increasingly digitalizing world.

Prior to founding McKinney Consulting in 2001, McKinney worked for global athletic companies, including heading footwear product development and testing at one of the largest sports shoemakers in the world. There, he headed global research and development teams and oversaw $3 billion of product sales annually. His experience in this fast-moving industry taught him lessons that he imparts to all his clients today through the company's coaching and executive search industries. A professionally trained singer with a bachelor's degree in music, McKinney also applies musical concepts in coaching, drawing parallels between musical harmony and leadership.

"In my previous role, my primary concern was beating ourselves more than beating our competitors. We really didn't delve too much into what others were doing, because we didn't want to inadvertently be influenced by our competitors. Our main goal was to surpass our previous sales performances and increase our global market share, but that required us to be two or three product seasons ahead of the consumer," McKinney says.

Sports shoes are a huge business, with consumers placing huge focus on both function and aesthetics. Thus, McKinney's job involved trying to predict how the market will change, as well as being able to quickly pick up and adapt to any new trends that emerge. It's this mindset that he brought when he entered the consulting industry, where he offers a variety of services that he quickly adapts to client's needs. He also continually educates himself to remain competitive, agile and adaptable to the projects he consults on.

Working in South Korea for more than 25 years, McKinney has seen its development into one of the most digitally connected and technologically advanced societies in the world. When he started out, many companies still used fax machines, but, today, they are almost completely paperless. He says the digital evolution is disrupting all industries but it also presents business leaders with the opportunity to identify a clear vision for their organizations and share that vision with all employees and stakeholders internally and externally to help meet those objectives.

"My background in such a competitive sector taught me the importance of staying ahead and on top of trends. I've also worked for over 10 years with the Korean government's incubator program for startups, both as a coach and judge, and it demonstrated how innovative the Korean market is. Leaders need to be more agile and adaptable today than in the past because industry needs are continually changing. Prior to the pandemic, we never imagined that companies could have their entire workforces working from home. You cannot just ignore digitalization and AI today in how you're doing your business. If you just keep doing the same old thing in the same old way, you're going to fail. There are many giant companies that have crumbled because they refused to innovate. It's the agile and adaptable companies that succeed," McKinney says.