2020 was a rough year for just about every industry. The shakeups caused by lockdowns and quarantines, coupled with waning consumer confidence and retracted spending, have created new headwinds for businesses of all sizes and types—from Fortune 500 enterprises to local-area mom and pop shops. That said, retraction in 2020 sets the stage for rebound in 2021.
There’s tremendous opportunity for companies that were battered in 2020 to pivot, reposition and rebound in 2021. To do this, they need solid leadership—leaders who can right the ship, set the course and keep the company moving forward with a singular vision. The problem is, good leadership is in high demand right now! Broad opportunities for capitalization are driving many companies to seek leadership now, with the express purpose of establishing stability as soon as possible. It’s the most proactive thing to do—especially if you’re in an industry with immediate opportunities heading into 2021.
Here’s a look at five industries poised to soar with great leadership not only in 2021, but in the decade ahead.
Energy companies big and small need to set their sights on staunch leadership as soon as possible. There’s a perfect storm brewing for success, and a strong CEO or cohesive executive team are the captains that will herald success moving forward.
The biggest opportunity for energy companies comes with the Biden Administration. One of the pillars of Joe Biden’s campaign was addressing climate change, and there are already plans in motion to overhaul the United States’ energy commitments in the coming years. The shift to green energy is arriving in a big way in 2021 and energy companies need to make that pivot. Leadership that understands this paradigm shift will lead energy providers big and small through the transition with confidence.
There’s also increasing consumer demand for energy as a whole. Life is only becoming more technology-driven, raising demand for energy. With more people working remote, household energy demands are on the rise. Couple this with growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and there’s significant opportunity for energy companies to capitalize in the future—with the right leadership to guide them, of course.
There’s no denying the growing wealth inequality gap in the United States. The reality of this situation is shaking up the banking industry, and seasoned leaders are needed to help guide banking into a new era—one of changing consumer demand.
Banking industry leaders need to navigate some major trends, including the rise in unbanked individuals, digital payments and money transfer, incremental payments and more. Consumer confidence in banking is low and financial strains caused by the coronavirus pandemic have pushed many to look elsewhere for access to capital. Financial CEOs need perspective in the coming decade and realize that, thanks to technology, the way people interact with financial institutions and handle money is changing.
Under the right leadership, local banks, credit unions, lenders, transactors and other companies involved in financial services can take advantage of a rapidly changing landscape to meet new customer demands in 2021 and beyond.
From local practices to medical device companies, healthcare is only growing in importance as time goes on. If providers are going to continue growing to meet this demand, they need to embrace sound leadership.
Healthcare CEOs and other executives need to understand the ramifications of an uncertain road ahead. Will the United States see a shift to socialized medicine in the next decade? How does results-driven care factor into practice operations? What’s the prospect of telemedicine in a post-pandemic world? There are significant, unanswered questions that require leadership to prepare for and navigate as more information about them comes to light.
Healthcare leadership in 2021 and beyond needs to be decisive, forward-thinking and adaptive. The trajectory of medicine will change in the post-pandemic world, but without certainty about its direction, good leadership will position a company to become what it needs to be to succeed regardless of the changes.
Technology might seem like the obvious industry on this list, but the opportunities for tech in 2021 and beyond are less obvious. The software marketplace is becoming crowded and the tech boom of the 2010s is giving way to a field that’s oversaturated with options. Consumer choice is fragmented. Good leadership will distinguish a company as a market leader and oversee M&A efforts that help companies survive the inevitable consolidation coming in the future.
From FinTech to SaaS providers, tech companies will come to rely on leadership to better-position them to adapt to a market that’s going to become more volatile before it stabilizes. This, on top of emerging innovations that will push tech into a new plane—the likes of 5G, edge computing, cybersecurity and impending legislation on data collection and privacy.
The technology landscape is going to see significant upheaval in the coming years, making it imperative to establish good executive leadership now. Companies position to weather the tumult will emerge into a new era of prosperity.
5. Freight and logistics
One industry that saw explosive growth in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic was freight—specifically middle- and last-mile delivery. A boom in ecommerce from people stuck at home has given us a peek into a future where demand for freight services is almost overwhelming. To cope with that vision, transportation companies, 3PLs and shippers need executive leadership that’s solutions-driven and poised to weather challenge.
To complicate matters, freight is also one of the biggest industries suffering from a labor shortage. That, coupled with the prospect of autonomous vehicles likely sometime in the next decade, is putting this industry in the path of a major shakeup. Stalwart leadership is the first building block for companies seeking to weather that change.
Freight and supply chain are intertwined, which means incoming CEOs will also face the arduous task of reestablishing supply chains post-pandemic—a prospect that might also include near-shoring and re-shoring. Needless to say, this is a huge task for future leadership and the best time to install these leaders is right now.
Leadership inspires companies to thrive
The post-pandemic world is still taking shape and as it does, it’s company leaders that are helping to shape it. There are no shortages of struggle and headwinds bearing down on these industries; however, the tradeoff is that there are also tremendous opportunities for those sectors. With good leadership comes vision and perseverance, and the ability to capitalize on the opportunities the future offers. Right now is the time to find and install that leadership, as 2021 kicks off.