How to Future-proof Your Business?  

future of business

By Jerry Temko

During the past few months, major recruiters have been reporting on the impact that today’s choppy economic headwinds are having on the hiring efforts of businesses in all sectors. What has come to light through these conditions is that getting the right people in to advise on business strategy is more important than ever, but identifying and securing this talent enduring a period of turbulence is a challenge.  

How, then, do businesses do more with less and navigate the current unstable hiring landscape to pursue new business opportunities and stay ahead with exciting new technologies such as AI?  

Prioritising generalists rather than specialists  

More and more businesses want to hire generalists who can be adaptable and versatile in the application of their skills depending on where support is required.  

A prime example often observed in the C-Suite is the transformation of the General Counsel role, which is very rapidly becoming more adaptable and dynamic. Essentially, merely possessing good legal acumen is no longer enough, and General Counsel who can adeptly utilise their expertise to assist other departments, so-called GC+ are illustrating their worth to businesses.  

Indeed, this applies to several positions within the C-Suite, as senior executives are increasingly expected to be flexible and offer their resources and assistance to various areas of the business.  

For General Counsel to be able to do this effectively, however, requires them to have more than just a strong blend of commercial aptitude alongside their legal specialism. They need to be able to communicate, lead, and think critically. These components of a high-level and multifaceted strategic adviser require a range of soft skills as well. 

Some of the common soft skills that should be high on an employers’ list, especially as legal departments increasingly operate cross-functionally, include:  


Amidst the current economic climate where companies and smaller legal teams are being forced to downsize, businesses require candidates who have the skills to collaborate with other team members and handle a wide range of actions including contract drafting, IP, compliance, litigation, and negotiation. This versatility is invaluable as it helps businesses tackle legal and commercial challenges despite straightened resources.   


Growing geopolitical tensions have heightened concerns about the impact of economic or political events. As such, businesses need to be seeking talent that actively prioritizes  foresight to stay one step ahead of regulatory requirements and respond swiftly to new developments.  


Incoming talent must be  prepared to embrace the latest processes and technologies will allow businesses to leverage their creativity to uncover innovative solutions for complex solutions. This adaptability and imaginative approach will not only enhance the smooth operation of departmental functions but will also elevate the value of the services it provides.   

New outlooks  

Departments that have teams of diverse individuals with differing perspectives and backgrounds not only promote cultural competence and ethical awareness but also stimulate innovative thinking, crucial in a world where global trends and social expectations are always changing.  

Commercial awareness 

Businesses aiming for growth should be looking for individuals with extensive sector experience, insights into market trends, financial acumen, and the skill to strategically align with an organisation’s expansion goals.  

Diversity across generations  

Recruiters often encounter candidates who feel pigeonholed in their roles, which can lead to feelings of stagnation. In a market that is arguably candidate-driven, this stagnation can pose serious challenges to businesses. Therefore, to attract and retain top talent, organisations can focus on mentorship, people/project management engagements, and succession planning.  

These efforts should not only avoid employees feeling stuck in their roles but can also work to close generational gaps and form clear career paths for advancement, even when immediate promotion isn’t feasible. Indeed, involving junior staff in new initiatives fosters the development of future-focused strategic leaders who can tackle any challenge that comes their way.   

Adopting AI  

As accessible AI, like ChatGPT, becomes more prevalent, the regulatory and operational hurdles related to AI extend beyond  the tech industry. In fact, the  

Economist’s 2023 General Counsel Summit highlighted that AI presents significant opportunities across many different corporate functions.   

In this difficult market, businesses should be seeking talent that can prove their expertise in AI and the transformative impact it is having on departments today as well as the impact it will have in the future. Particular skills employers should be looking for include cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing, and digital literacy, which were historically less relevant but are now vital for C-Suite roles like the General Counsel.  

There is also a growing demand amongst employers for professionals who can navigate the evolving regulatory landscape surrounding AI and integrate this knowledge into broader technology adoption strategies. Businesses increasingly require legal experts proficient in AI to collaborate with CTOs, COOs, CEOs, and other boardroom members, providing both legal and commercial insights to ensure that AI investment, implementation policies, and ethical practices align with regulatory and business objectives.  

For a business to future-proof its legal department, it must work hard to attract and retain the best talent. This involves actively seeking hires who have a variety of skills that enable them to play more than one role in advising on a business’s strategy, helping to guide a company through tough economic challenges as well as the most significant technological developments we are seeing unfold in today’s world of business.  

About the Author 

Jerry TemkoJerry Temko is a member of the EMEA In-House Counsel Practice and recruits general counsel, chief compliance officers and other high-level specialized legal professionals focusing on the life sciences, TMT, manufacturing and other industries.


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