With economic commentators agreeing that the mining boom in Australia is coming to an end, companies across the country are looking at how they will navigate the transition to a new economic paradigm. New ways of increasing productivity and sourcing opportunities in sectors other than resources are likely to become topics of conversation in many boardrooms. So which companies will prosper in this new economic landscape and is leadership a key element in determining this?
As reported by the international Business Times this month, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show Australia’s GDP growth was 0.6% for the April to June Quarter. What was also interesting to note was that Financial Services contributed double the growth of the mining sector, with household consumption also starting to make a significant impact. While it is too early to say that finance and retail will replace the resources sector as the drivers of economic growth in Australia, it seems apparent that a shift is taking place.
If we focus on the finance and retail sectors, it is clear that competition in these markets is intense, with overseas companies being significant players and new technology driving the way consumers acquire goods and services. In order to compete, it is fair to assume that Australian companies will need to innovate and increase productivity levels in order to maintain and grow their businesses. One element in driving these changes will be the leaders entrusted to make these changes and ensure they are achieved.
As companies strive to make changes to their business models, enter new markets or maximise their returns in existing ones, the need for clear direction and the ability to influence will be critical skills that business leaders will need to demonstrate. Although many Australian executives have significant experience in these fields, the challenges of navigating through a changing economic landscape will be different to those experienced before, and new skills will need to be developed. While developing these leadership skills is no guarantee of business success, it is fair to assume that without them it may be difficult for companies to compete in the markets most likely to drive the economy over the next decade.
So how do companies acquire and develop the leaders they will need to allow them to thrive in the new economy? This will come down to a choice between developing these skills organically with the resources already in place, or hiring new executive talent to bring a fresh perspective and expertise not present in the existing workforce. In reality, most successful organisations are likely to utilise a combination of the two, but one thing that does seem clear is that a failure to address the need for new leadership skills is likely to result in organisations struggling to adapt in the post mining boom economy.