We help our clients shift focus away from short-sighted quarterly capitalism to building long-term sustainable businesses. An important part of that is to navigate the far-reaching transformations of businesses that we see in the world today. Below, we describe four transformations we find are crucial for businesses and organizations to navigate today, and in the years to come.
To survive – and thrive – in this new world, we believe that the only viable response is to build a business geared to the challenge of political headwinds, sensitive to the global marketplace and true to one’s values. As advisers, our focus lies where global ambitions meet local conditions, and where the market meets the public and the political sphere.
THE POLITICIZED MARKET
There is an increasing overlap between business and politics. In the West this translates into new opportunities following deregulation as a result of political decisions, and threats in sectors previously untouched by politicians and changes in public opinion. In emerging economies, an understanding of and excellence in government affairs is essential, as well as a sensitivity to protectionist markets and patriotic consumers.
GLOBAL AMBITION, LOCAL UNDERSTANDING
The emerging markets are demanding more influence. International businesses face the challenge of having to operate in environments with a multitude of values, cultures, traditions and customs. Managers have to realize and accept that others might have different sets of values, competing or even colliding with theirs, and respect and handle them. Global ambitions need to be matched with a local understanding.
Growing consumer awareness increases public demand for just production conditions and fair commercial behavior. Fierce competition among companies from different parts of the world on emerging global markets, off-line and on-line, makes confidence a decisive purchasing factor. Building sustainable trust with all key stake holders is an important task for businesses and organizations alike.
We are moving towards more transparency, driven both by the technology shift and changing expectations. For companies, the challenge will be to find a balance that satisfies a diverse set of stakeholders and safeguards business secrets and reputation. But in order to accomplish that, old assumptions about the merits of silence and fear of engaging with stakeholders need to be broken. In this world one can’t hide – even if one wanted to.