Leading industrial and manufacturing companies around the world are today confronted with a range of new and increasingly complex challenges

Leading industrial and manufacturing companies around the world are today confronted with a range of new and increasingly complex challenges. Along with the risk of truly global competition comes the risk of remaining static and unbending in the face of serious market challenges. Increased customer expectations of value may also be moving one’s competitors to change their business strategy.

From intense global competition and a market-driven shift in workforce deployment to new demands for innovation, industrial and manufacturing companies are taking steps to redefine their market position and drive long-term supplier relationships with especially discerning clients whose focus is squarely on value.

As the rules of doing business within a fiercely competitive industrial and manufacturing environment continue to evolve, so too, do the requirements for world-class management leadership within these markets. In fact, the demands of corporate leadership have never been higher in the industrial and manufacturing markets.

Ann Cousin, from the Transearch International Paris office, says her recent client executive search engagement experience suggests a matrix of leadership skills are now expected of senior-management leaders across the Industrial and Manufacturing markets in Europe and beyond. These include:

  1. Personal leadership – Other than direct authority, personal leadership is definitely required now for nearly 100 percent of executive positions. The matrix configuration of many global organizations requires leaders to develop their own network and to initiate contacts with colleagues working in farflung time zones.
  2. Culture fit – There must be a deep synergy between the company or group’s organizational culture and the behavior and attitude of senior managers.
  3. Pressure to produce results – More and more companies who change towards harder targets and processes say they want to get results, but they must be achieved “the right way” – as a result of careful planning and strategic execution.
  4. Personal fit – Besides adapting to a harsher competitive environment and global pressures being felt at all stages of the manufacturing process, industrial leaders must have the right personal chemistry with their teams in order to obtain the desired results.
  5. Well-rounded perspective – Manufacturing and industrial innovators are building new businesses on leaders who bring a global attitude in terms of technical skills, as well as leadership, organization skills and cost controls.

Companies, in general, are constantly looking to upgrade their management leadership bench strength. They are keen to attract executives with solid, blue chip experience and strong academic qualifications. In the developing markets such as China and Vietnam, this has led to an acute shortage of quality talent at the middle and senior-management level. Retention of these qualified professionals has become a major issue for many organizations.

As the war for talent heats up, the availability of senior talent with the required industry specific experience has become less and less. This has resulted in many companies looking at people from outside the industry who have proven themselves as good leaders with a track record of success behind them. The new leadership challenge is to cope with an increasingly faster and ‘flat’ world, to benefit from ever faster changes by having the courage to exploit new opportunities by leading change instead of following.

This article is an extract of the White Paper entitled ‘The way forward for industrial and manufacturing leaders’. Get your copy of the full White Paper via the Transearch International website at http://www.transearch.com/press_room/display2.asp?nID=201. It may alter your view of the market and competitive forces at work and how to evolve with them.

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