New Frontiers

August 13, 2015 News

For a long time, the main task of company managers focused on always finding new markets and establishing new branch offices or subsidiaries. From a European perspective, managers moved to Eastern Europe first, then China, later Vietnam, India, Mexico, Indonesia—there was always a new frontier which offered new opportunities. Sales were globalized, supply chains were created across borders, and networks were carefully expanded.

While we at European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) are still engaged in convincing the small- and medium-sized enterprises of 28 member-countries of the European Union to make Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) their new frontier, it appears that more and more questions are coming up whether this business philosophy can be continued or whether we have to realize: What brought us here, won’t get us there!

The phase of rapid globalization has become history already. Economic growth appears to have reached a plateau. The world population has reached a plateau also. While we believe that Asean Integration offers new opportunities, we also have to be realistic that globalization is taking a pause and that the world economy needs a new growth story.

So where are the new frontiers? The heroes of global industrialization were building their empires on size. Scaling was the name of the game: to produce more and more of the same, in more and more countries, at hopefully sinking costs. Such a strategy only works as long as the demand grows fast in many markets. But that strategy ends in failure when top managers begin to influence share prices by using profits to buy back shares, rather than investing in the business. There are plenty of examples around: Siemens, GE, Pfizer, BP—not name a few only. The global capitalism, it appears, lives at the moment at the expense of its own future.

The new frontiers, which can inspire the fantasy and productivity of people, are no longer in different places. They are in the minds of people who have started thinking in terms of disruptive innovation, social entrepreneurship, braking up traditional supply chains, joining techlabs or incubators, betting on start-ups from SiliconValley to SantiagoValley to BerlinValley to hopefully ManilaValley.

But this redesign also requires new organizational structures. In future, leadership will be based on sharing. The interpretation of CEO will no longer be chief executive officer but chief enabling officer. It will be essential to move away from hierarchical silos and using profit margins as the sole management tool. Leading from the top is poison for innovation; more intrapreneurship from below will lead companies and organizations to success.

Many people sense that the way organizations are run today has been stretched to its limits. In survey after survey, businesspeople make it clear that in their view, companies are places of dread and drudgery, not passion or purpose. Organizational disillusionment afflicts government agencies, nonprofits, schools and hospitals just as much. Further, it applies not just to the powerless at the bottom of the hierarchy.

During a recent session of ECCP’s Human Capital Club, we shared key insights on how to create and reinvent one’s company into a Teal Organization, based on the book and research of Frederic Laloux. Some key learnings were that organizations should empower employees to self-manage and bring their real selves into the workplace. We also shared insights on the 10 Commandments of Intrapreneurship where, ideally, an employee should treat his role in an organization as if it were his own business. 

Source: Business Mirror