Valu­able lessons

for trou­bled times

Middle East Business (English) - - FRONT PAGE -

Since the fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2007/ 2008, volatil­ity has re­turned to new highs. When faced with tur­bu­lent times, lead­ers in busi­ness, pol­i­tics and so­ci­ety tend to re­lay con­trast­ing re­sponses. Lon­don Busi­ness School’s Ad­junct Pro­fes­sor of Strat­egy and En­trepreneur­ship, Do­minic Houl­der, and Ex­ec­u­tive Fel­low of Strat­egy and En­trepreneur­ship, Nandu Nand­k­ishore, be­lieve the fu­ture be­longs to lead­ers who ig­nore the pres­sure to slash jobs, cap­ture value and re­treat, and in­stead choose to pur­sue sus­tain­able value cre­ation. They've kindly sug­gested some tac­tics to help nav­i­gate the to­day's chaotic busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

1. Be ag­ile

Where in the past com­pa­nies might have de­vel­oped a strat­egy and cre­ated a step-by-step process to ex­e­cute it, to­day lead­ers need a more it­er­a­tive ap­proach that lets them re­spond to the sheer pace of change and num­ber of sources of dis­rup­tion.

2. Build re­silience

Re­silience and ro­bust­ness is also re­quired – an abil­ity to ab­sorb shocks. And while large cor­po­ra­tions are of­ten writ­ten off as lum­ber­ing di­nosaurs, they are more like salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles who might look like di­nosaurs, but when the op­por­tu­nity is there, they’ll snap it up.

3. Stay true to your pur­pose

It is vi­tal for a leader to un­der­stand the sense of pur­pose that ex­ists in an or­gan­i­sa­tion. And a leader should be very care­ful about tam­per­ing with it or chang­ing it. In times of tur­bu­lence, it is up to lead­ers to un­der­stand, le­git­imise, spot­light and cel­e­brate the mo­ti­va­tions and val­ues that un­der­lie an or­gan­i­sa­tion and com­mu­ni­cate them through sto­ry­telling.

4. Create plat­forms to re­spond in good – and bad – times

Any com­pany will have good and back luck events in its life. What marks a com­pany out is what it does when those events hap­pen. Lead­ers can’t plan for those events but they can create a plat­form that makes it pos­si­ble for them to re­spond to events.

5. Look to the medium term

Lead­ers and man­age­ment fo­cused on short-term prof­its are more likely to cut out spare ca­pac­ity, but that will also de­crease their abil­ity to re­spond to good luck and bad luck events. And al­though pub­lic com­pa­nies al­ways state a long-term vi­sion this tends to be set so far in the fu­ture that it be­comes mean­ing­less. What gets missed is the medi­umterm – and this is the time frame that lets us con­sider the health of the plat­form, the mean­ing and pur­pose of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, and the com­pany’s ab­sorp­tive ca­pac­ity. The key to sur­viv­ing in tur­bu­lent times is to choose to pur­sue new op­por­tu­ni­ties to create value. Hold on to the five pil­lars of agility com­bined with re­silience, pur­pose, plat­forms and a fo­cus on the medium term to help nav­i­gate the stormy times ahead.

About Lon­don Busi­ness School Lon­don Busi­ness School's vi­sion is to have a pro­found im­pact on the way the world does busi­ness. The School is con­sis­tently ranked in the global top 10 for its pro­grammes and is widely ac­knowl­edged as a cen­tre for out­stand­ing re­search.

As well as its top-ranked full-time MBA*, the School of­fers de­gree and award win­ning ex­ec­u­tive ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes** to ex­ec­u­tives from around the world.

With a pres­ence in four in­ter­na­tional cities – Lon­don, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai – the School is well po­si­tioned to equip stu­dents from more than 130 coun­tries with the tools needed to op­er­ate in to­day’s busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. The School has more than 39,000 alumni, from over 150 coun­tries, which pro­vide a wealth of knowl­edge, busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence and world­wide net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Lon­don Busi­ness School’s 157 aca­demics come from more than 30 coun­tries and cover seven sub­ject ar­eas: ac­count­ing; eco­nomics; fi­nance; man­age­ment science and op­er­a­tions; mar­ket­ing; or­gan­i­sa­tional be­hav­iour; and strat­egy and en­trepreneur­ship.


* 2013 Forbes in­ter­na­tional MBA rank­ing, 2012 Bloomberg Busi­nessWeek in­ter­na­tional MBA rank­ing and Fi­nan­cial Times MBA 2009, 2010 and 2011 rank­ings

**Lon­don Busi­ness School was awarded the 2013 EFMD Ex­cel­lence in Prac­tice Award for its 10-year part­ner­ship with Danone.

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