Do you ever find that in life, things (admittedly on very rare occasions) just fall into place?
When we set out to put this issue of Dialogue together, the focus we had in mind was risk: looking at the issue from the environmental angle, to global, to political and diplomatic, to financial and internal. But as I have come to put the pages together, I realize that the features in this entire issue have fallen into place to cover a much bigger topic: transformation.
The collection of features in our Focus serve to demonstrate that risk, while often perceived as a dangerous threat to business, doesn’t have to be. The savvy leaders who prepare for risk and strategize around it have, in many cases, uncovered great opportunities from this that have allowed them to gain competitive advantage. And as global markets slowly but surely begin to grow following the crisis of 2008, conversely the organizations that are too risk averse are actually running the risk of stagnation as their competitors move forward. After all, when you think about it, risk is growth and growth is a risk…
Dialogue is one of the official media partners for the 6th Global Drucker Forum in November in Vienna, Austria, where the focus of the conference will be The Great Transformation. In our interview with the Drucker Society’s president Richard Straub (page 84), he urges leaders to transform their mindsets as the world enters a period of (limited?) economic recovery.
He says new technology and ways of doing business could lead to a 21st century industrial revolution by boosting innovation and creating emerging industries. But they could equally have a devastating effect on jobs and employment if corporations continue to target primarily productivity enhancements and cost-cutting (read: risk aversion).
Are managers, leaders and entrepreneurs up to the task of tackling this great transformation? Straub explains that it appears we have reached a fork in the road, where either the world will embark on a route towards long-term growth and prosperity or we will take the wrong path and manage our way back to economic decline. Either way is risky.
And while, in the northern hemisphere, in fall, as the leaves on the trees turn orange and we prepare ourselves to face the winter ahead, it’s important to remember that, in the southern hemisphere, colleagues prepare for a spring awakening. The business world is changing around us all just as the seasons are changing. The trick for leaders is to transform themselves to change alongside it.
So, as you read the features on the following pages, take some time to think about how you can transform your outlook on risk from threat to strategic advantage.
Evolution is too slow. It’s time for a global transition – a cataclysmic transformation – and since we operate in an environment teaming with risks that were unheard of just 20 years ago, time is running out.