The big challenge business has in 2022

Business (and I use the term as a general placeholder) seems to be unsure as to what its real purpose is.

I'm often asked by friends and family about 'what the big trends are for the year ahead'.

In truth, there is a lot going on at the moment. Professionally I have a pretty complex list of interesting changes and things that could force other interesting changes that I track and pay attention to as a part of what I do.

There are mega-trends that anyone with a subscription to The Economist will know about, there are individual industry trends that are applicable to various categories of business, there are regional and national changes that are worth tracking and thinking about.

Pick anyone of these and you can have a field day analysing and projecting them into the future to gain better clarity and wisdom on their relevance and impact.

But outside of all of these - I get the feeling that in many ways business is a bit lost.

Business (and I use the term as a general placeholder) seems to be unsure as to what its real purpose is.

When pushed for an answer the majority of people living in advanced economies don't believe that capitalism, in its current form, is working; they don't believe that capitalism is in the best interests of us all.

Most people don't believe that companies operate with the customer's best interests at heart - their default belief is that companies are out to screw people, generating huge profits for their wealthy shareholders only.

People all over the world are resigning from their jobs. They are sick and tired of being mistreated, literally giving their lives up in exchange for a pay cheque that doesn't bring about the happiness that they once hoped for.

Trust - the glue that holds the fabric of society together - is at an all time low. The world distrusts governments, science, business, NGOs, the media, those in positions of leadership.

The world is having an existential crisis.

The big challenge for all businesses in 2022 is to get real and honest and try to figure out what kind of real value they create for the world.

The question each and every business should be asking is: 'why should we continue to exist?'

Sure you can try just carry on screwing people and making money for your shareholders, but that strategy might not work out so well for you anymore.

Something significant shifted in the minds of people during: the #MeToo protests, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Fees Must Fall experience, the global pandemic lockdowns.

People are watching and talking and are now more aware of how their consumer support ensures continuity.