Business Strategies for a World in Turmoil

Chaos, Complexity, and Change

The world is in turmoil. Whether it is the Eurozone debt crisis, the ongoing recession in the United States, the protests in the Arab world, the slowing down of the Chinese economy, or the political gridlock in India, business leaders are confronted with myriad challenges that demand out of the box thinking and non-linear approaches.

For instance, business leaders of the present times need to think whether they want to take a longer-term view hoping that the conditions would improve over the next five years or do firefighting for the present problems, which calls for extremely short-term thinking. This dilemma coupled with the fact that the policy paralysis in many countries and social unrest in others makes the job of business leaders very difficult.

Considering the fact that the attention span of today’s youth is reducing at an exponential rate, they need to capture the hearts and minds of the emerging consumers by short term targeting and at the same time plan for the future through deep rooted and slow moving changes that take time to yield results.

The fact that legendary innovators like the late Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had a mix of short term and longer-term strategies means that the delicate balance between appealing to the short-term imperatives and the need for longer-term sustainability of their strategies has to be arrived at after careful consideration.

Attributes of Successful Strategies

Apart from this, business leaders in the contemporary organizations also have to have their pulse on the ground in terms of assessing whether they want to enter new markets, exit unprofitable ones, and grow potential successes. For this, they need to be able to read the situation on the ground in an astute and shrewd manner.

The need to assess and understand the various kinds of risks involved ranging from political instability to social changes and unrest and strategize accordingly is another aspect. The fact that they have to take into account the dizzyingly connected global economy where events in a remote corner of the world have the potential to impact their operations is another aspect that the business strategists must take into consideration.

Further, they need to contend with resource depletion and climate change, which are called high probability, high impact factors is another aspect, which calls for their attention.

Be Cosmopolitan in Outlook

The most important aspect that business leaders face is the balancing act between global outlook and local execution. It goes without saying that they must heed the needs of their employees in different locations around the world, which are determined, by local conditions and local factors. At the same time they need to be cosmopolitan in their outlook because the problems facing their businesses (some of which have been mentioned earlier) are global in nature.

In other words, they must strategize based on how they perceive the business trends would move and at the same time must take into account the fact that rapid change and complexity of the business landscape makes each idea they have redundant and obsolete in no time.

Therefore, innovation, global outlook, local execution, cosmopolitan attitude, shrewd understanding of risks, and the ability to be quick and agile are some of the attributes of the strategy that they must pursue.

Closing Thoughts

Finally, with so much of information overload and breathless change, business leaders and businesses must also not forget to invest time and resources on themselves. It is easy to get caught in the whirlwind of events and lose sight of the fact that to stay in the race, they must have stamina, and there is no point in expending all their energies on the present.

The strategies must be consistent with their personal and organizational beliefs and be anchored in their core competencies. The need for speed and the demand for energy must be balanced in the global race for business.

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International Business