As future businessleaders we will have to deal with eco-systems dominated by multiple elements,various dynamics and different levels of complexity. Argentina exemplifiesthese aspects by combining intimidating components such as a rampant inflationof 20%, a corruption level higher than those of both China and India and avolatility that would test any investors’ nerves. Not only local managers areuncertain about the future but they also have to face the popular assumptionthat successful people had certainly cheated and robbed to get where they are.This is a depiction of an amazing country possessing treasured resources and ahighly educated population but who fell collateral victim of politicalexperimentations. Even though this environment could daunt the bravest and boldest,I met joyful leaders seeing hopeful signs of recovery by handling thisuncertainty at their benefits.
It is certain that the Corralito at the end of2001 – freeze of bank accounts and conversionof dollars accounts in devalued pesos – associated with the image of acountry that has barely managed to stay solvent, do live in the collectivememory of the business community. However there are lessons to take from thesuccessful leaders of Argentina, a mix between pragmatism and risk taking thatwill facilitate my understanding of volatile and uncertain markets in thecontext of my own organisation. While beinga major player within the medical devices industry we thrive in a much securedenvironment which is controlled by strong regulations and compliance policies.Moreover our core activities primarily take place in developed countries andterritories where stability of the legal and economic environment is preservedbut at the expenses of a limited growth. This perspective encourages us toexplore promising markets, knowing that digging into emerging economies willlead to adapt our corporate mindset.
Thus, this assignment in Argentinaparticularly resonates with my coming mission next summer in Asia where I willbe in charge of the development of our commercial activities. Thus we canwonder how to capture opportunities and conduct sustainable business operationsin theses turbulent territories. In light ofthe foregoing we can assess how the commitmentsframework presented by Donald Sull help navigate through unstable andunpredictable business conditions.
The notion of commitments known as promises that organisations ormanagers make can easily paralyse the machinery of the business. These necessarypledges which are encapsulated in five different categories – Frames, Processes, Resources, Relationshipsand Values – tend to lock the entire company in a certain trajectory. Whilewe expect organisations to display flexibility to as great an extent aspossible when environment shifts, leaders may remain entrapped in a tangled webof commitments they have wisely woven. As Donald Sull puts it, relationshipsbecome shackles, values become dogma and processes are routines.