Globally we are faced with unprecedented circumstances and the world is a significantly different place than it was a year ago. Because of this competitive and threatening environment, anxiety is pulsing through corporate executives around the globe. Unfortunately, many businesses have fallen and in the coming year many more will fail. The question is, will yours be one of them? These global realities are requiring business leaders to revolutionize their perspectives as nearly everything has changed. One must feel pressured because business as we know it has come to a halt. What does this mean? It is time for action. To succeed in our competitive and changing world, you need to make the CEO shift. The CEO shift is not about your company replacing its chief executive officer. Rather, it is what you must do for your company to succeed. Simply stated, reality is mandating that every business make these five critical shifts:
The markets of the world have moved. They are no longer in the backyard of the West. Clearly, they have moved to the East. Fast-growth and emerging markets are distinct and you must understand and respond to them accordingly. Market shift is not about outsourcing, offshoring or insourcing to/from a foreign land. It is not a trade act. It is more than a plan to expand your existing client base. To discover new horizons and grow your business you need to respond to this era of peopleization.
In the past, to find the biggest and/or largest of anything people looked to EuroAmerica. Now companies and projects in the East are growing at rates once unheard of. Every single day, the news reports about the massive growth in the East. Whether it is a report of good fortune, such as the rise in number of millionaires in the emerging markets, the growth of the middle class in China or the unprecedented rates of corporate growth in India and the Middle East, the size of expansion and growth in the East is massive. It is clear that the growth shift is in the East and your business cannot afford to ignore it. To compete you will need a new definition of what growth is.
Beyond the magnitude of growth, emerging markets have experienced a whip-lashing shift in the speed of business. They are setting new standards. Economic activity in the emerging markets is growing at rates of around 40 percent, as compared with two to three percent in the West and Japan. It’s little wonder that your business needs to make a shift. If one travels to Beijing or Mumbai on a monthly basis, one will notice the obvious differences. In Dubai, on a weekly basis, one has to verify their route to work as new roads appear and old ones are closed. Business is now moving at a warp speed.
The acclaimed ‘talent war’ is over, and talent won. The real global crisis is that there are not enough workers to provide the world with the business that it needs. A talent shift is needed if a business is going to compete or even survive. Only businesses that redefine their talent strategy and approach will make it. The legacies and histories that were once relied on are a prescription for failure. This is one of the most severe pains and two Panadol will not make it go away.
There is not a one-size-fits-all style for leadership. One must make the shift away from the ideal of a single approach to leadership. Because of the success in the West, many people try to emulate their exported ideas and practices of leadership. Yet in the emerging markets, those practices do not deliver as hoped or expected. You need to embrace the emerging market model of leadership. Are CEOs in trouble? Yes. And just as sure as the sun sets in the west and rises in the east, it is time to make the CEO shift. The so-called ‘emerging markets’ are more than living up to the term ‘emerging.’ They are doing more than developing and coming on the scene, they are now the focus of the paparazzi on the world’s red carpet and are on every VIP list. In order to make the CEO shift, it is imperative that one makes a global shift away from the traditional Western perspective and leads their business into the emerging markets. The CEO shift is a must do for every CEO.
Tommy Weir, Ph.D., serves as executive director of the EM Leadership Center, specializing in strategic leadership development
for fast-growth and emerging markets.