The constant uncertainty we have experienced of late has me thinking of the attributes businesses in Scotland will need to demonstrate in order to thrive in what is going to be a very challenging market this year.

Amongst several top-rated businesses, there are commonalities as to what makes them the cream of the crop; it’s all down to the three T’s – Technology, Trade and Talent. Three attributes that businesses across Scotland can take note of and consider in looking to make their businesses be as successful as possible.

Technology: Technology is evolving at an exponential speed, with new trends and technologies shaking up business practice at a faster pace than ever before. From experience of listening to IoD members across the country, there is no doubt that there is a race to embrace emerging technologies, move to the cloud before anyone else and be the ones to lead on disruptive business models. Those businesses that do embrace this change will be the winners, as they will be able to gain more insight from the data they hold, as well as increase their productivity. This, in turn, benefits the bottom line.

Trade: Currently, Scotland trades 3.6 times more with the rest of the UK than with the EU. But that shouldn’t limit businesses in where they should trade – use 2019 to go global. By looking further afield to new markets, such as the Middle East or Far East, businesses will benefit not just in the case of increased tariffs or customs delays and difficulties post Brexit, but to expand their trading opportunities.

Talent: Last, but not least, is what I consider will be the most important element for businesses to consider this year. Companies must be free to find quality leaders and employees who are right for them, and this includes being encouraged to step outside the traditional structures and embrace diversity.

With just one year until the Government’s target of having a 50/50 split of men and women in the boardroom, businesses need to take diversity seriously this year. However, at the same time, we need to see not only greater gender diversity, but diversity of thought too. The best boardrooms are host to a variety of backgrounds, education, age, gender and skills. They must clearly be the home of ideas and challenge if businesses are to be more successful – the boardroom is not a place for dogma.

We need to make the case that being a business leader is not about being part of a status quo.

In fact, it is the exact opposite. All businesses, in one way or another, are about changing the status quo. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small business owner or CEO of a household name; all of us spend our working lives trying to change something, trying to find the solutions for the challenges of the future.

The short-term future will the see biggest changes and challenges that British businesses have faced for years, yet at the moment, we’re blind as to the consequences of what may happen over the next six weeks. However, there are many core qualities that help to hold the British economy together. Talent, innovation, integrity, ambition and determination have seen us through crises in the past, and these will hold true as we face the future on our doorstep.

If we want to follow the top to success then we must lead in all aspects of organisations and study how they operate in these successful businesses year on year.

David Watt is executive director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland.