New geopo­lit­i­cal risks need spe­cial­ists to help in­ter­pret

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Ka­belo Khu­malo

NINETY-two per­cent of South African chief ex­ec­u­tives have said that they are re­cruit­ing new spe­cial­ists into their man­age­ment teams to bet­ter un­der­stand geopo­lit­i­cal risks pre­sented to their busi­nesses.

This is ac­cord­ing to find­ings from the South African 2017 Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Out­look sur­vey re­leased yes­ter­day by pro­fes­sional ser­vices firm, KMPG. It looked into the in­sights of 50 chief ex­ec­u­tives who run some of the coun­try’s largest and most com­plex busi­nesses.

Forty-two per­cent of the chief ex­ec­u­tives said they were not con­fi­dent about prospects for the global econ­omy, in 2017, while 68 per­cent of the re­spon­dents said that they saw global dis­rup­tions as an op­por­tu­nity rather than a threat for their or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The study fur­ther found that 34 per­cent South Africa’s chief ex­ec­u­tives be­lieve that un­cer­tainty of the po­lit­i­cal land­scape has had a greater im­pact on their busi­ness than they have seen for many years, but 84 per­cent of the ex­ec­u­tives said that they were ramp­ing up their sce­nario plan­ning to plot a course through un­cer­tain

42% of chief ex­ec­u­tives are not con­fi­dent of the eco­nomic fu­ture

po­lit­i­cal cli­mate.

Mak­gotso Let­sitsi, an ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for KPMG South Africa, said in the face of new chal­lenges and un­cer­tain­ties, chief ex­ec­u­tives were feel­ing the ur­gency to “dis­rupt and grow” their busi­nesses and in­dus­tries.

“Chief ex­ec­u­tives un­der- stand that speed to mar­ket and in­no­va­tions are strate­gic pri­or­i­ties for growth in un­cer­tain po­lit­i­cal con­di­tions,” said Let­sitsi. The coun­try’s cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate was at the heart of a wave of down­grades to its sov­er­eign credit rat­ing by all three rat­ing agen­cies; S&P’s Global Rat­ings, Fitch and Moody’s.

The sur­vey fur­ther found that in a time of grow­ing un­cer­tainty, chief ex­ec­u­tives were in­creas­ingly dis­rupt­ing or chal­leng­ing their own role in or­der to bet­ter lead the busi­ness.

Sixty-eight per­cent of the re­spon­dents said they had taken prac­ti­cal steps to dis­rupt their roles in the past years, while only 26 per­cent be­lieved their emo­tional in­tel­li­gence was as im­por­tant as their tech­ni­cal skills.

They also said that they were more open to new in­flu­ences and col­lab­o­ra­tions than at any point in their ca­reer.

“Dis­rup­tion has be­come a fact of life for chief ex­ec­u­tives and their busi­nesses as they re­spond to height­ened un­cer­tainty. But im­por­tantly, most see dis­rup­tion as an op­por­tu­nity to trans­form their busi­ness model, de­velop new prod­ucts and ser­vices, and re­shape their busi­ness so it is more suc­cess­ful than ever be­fore,” said Let­sitsi.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port by the ex­ec­u­tive re­cruit­ment com­pany, Gatenby Sanderson, a modern chief ex­ec­u­tive should be able to be in a po­si­tion whereby he or she was un­fazed by am­bi­gu­ity and dis­rup­tion tak­ing place in the world and across in­dus­tries.

“To­day’s chief ex­ec­u­tive is ei­ther some­one who is able to iden­tify and adapt to chang­ing cir­cum­stances or – at worst – is faced with pick­ing up the pieces in an or­gan­i­sa­tion that did not move fast enough,” the re­port said.

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