12 Layers Of Complexity

Half-time into 2021, here is an attempt to draw a list of challenges for leadership teams:


1. Managing the fast macroeconomic recovery – more pleasant than managing a crisis but not easier!

2. Preparing for an eventual return to low growth

3. Accounting for the sources of risk

4. Integrating new trends into own strategy and operations, and into client solutions

5. Defining 2050 – suddenly on the horizon – with 2025 or 2030 being mere milestones

6. Acknowledging the extreme bifurcation between growth/quality and value assets, and pondering on its impact for asset portfolios


7. Re-thinking the organization


8. Boosting defensiveness in addition to growth and profitability to achieve a premium valuation

  • Defensiveness driven by industry structure, tech/domain expertise, positioning in the value chain, business model, end-markets… and ESG

9. Effecting a gracious exit from (deep) value assets

  • No buyers for (deep) value assets yet impairing industrial groups' ability to implement a strategic re-positioning; careful exit planning; spin-offs and M&A structuring required;

10. Integrating ESG-risks and opportunities and looking beyond climate change


11. Performing acquisitions to supplement organic growth in a low-growth environment

12. Building ties with governments and their agencies as the pendulum swings towards more regulation


The bigger the challenges, the bigger opportunity to build competitive advantages.


But there is really no time for procrastination.



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