Leadership & Business Wisdom

Turbulent times ahead

It turbulent times, the first task of management is to make sure of the institution’s capacity to survive a blow.

In turbulent times, the first task of management is to make sure of the institution’s capacity for survival, to make sure of its structural strengths, of its capacity for survival, to make sure of its structural strengths, of its capacity to survive a blow, to adapt to sudden change, and to avail itself of new opportunities. Turbulence, by definition, is irregular, nonlinear, erratic. But its underlying causes can be analyzed, predicted, managed.

But its underlying should – and can 0 – manage is the single most important new reality underlying a great deal of the turbulence around: the sea-change in population structure and population dynamics, and especially the shift in population structure and population dynamics in the developed countries of the West and Japan. These shifts are already changing the modes of economic integration throughout the world. They are likely to lead to a new “transnational confederation” based on production sharing and market control, replacing in many areas the old “multinational corporation” based on financial control. They are creating new consumer markets and realigning existing old consumer markets. They are drastically changing the labor force to the point where there will only be “labor forces,” each with different expectations and different characteristics. They will force us to abandon altogether the concept of “fixed retirement age.” And they will create a new demand on management – as well as a new opportunity – to make organized plans for redundancy.

The new entrepreneur

History moves in a spiral; one returns to the preceding position, but on a higher level, and by a corkscrew-like path.

We are again entering an era in which emphasis will be on entrepreneurship. However, it will not be an entrepreneurship of a century ago, that is, the ability of a single man to organize a business he himself could run, control, embrace. It will rather be the ability to create and direct an organization for the new. We need men and women whop can build a new structure of entrepreneurship on the managerial foundations laid these last eighty years. History, it has often been observed, moves in a spiral; one returns to the preceding position, or to the preceding problem, but on a higher level, and by a corkscrew-like path. In this fashion we are going to return to entrepreneurship on a path that led out fro a lower level, that of the single entrepreneur, to the manager, and now back, though upward, to entrepreneurship again. The businessperson will have to acquire a number of new abilities, all of them entrepreneurial in nature, but all of them to be exercised in and through a managerial organization.

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