6 Ways To Succeed as a Leader in Frontier Markets
Frontier Markets are a tough playground for corporations, leaders and talented individuals. While they do offer vast populations with diverse demographics, young, agile and talented workforce, a fast growing middle class, and faster growing GDP, they still remain volatile. Frontier markets are renowned for their political instabilities, interest rate and foreign exchange fluctuations, higher than average inflation and unpredictable security situations. All that makes succeeding as a leader in frontier markets all the more challenging (and rewarding if you’re able).
A good leader in frontier markets embraces this fact and plans accordingly. They’ll navigate and formulate strategies that’ll factor the volatility of the market and yet bet in favor of succeeding. Sure, there are numerous risks involved, but leaders in these markets outweigh them with the significant opportunities they see in these markets. And that’s why their successes are all the more rewarding and commendable.
While there’s been considerable research on what makes a successful leader in general, there’s not a lot when it comes to succeeding in Frontier Markets in particular. Sure, applying the ‘generic’ leadership traits and competencies may help you break ground, but to truly make an impact as a leader in frontier markets you need an extra bit of spice! Here are the 6 traits that’ll help you achieve that.
Probably the most important trait that a leader in frontier markets should and must possess is adaptability. As I mentioned earlier, the dynamics of the market we’re talking about is so fluid and volatile that you simply can’t predict what tomorrow may bring for a business. Everyday is different with a new set of challenges and experiences. That’s why leaders in frontier markets need to be agile, always anticipating and able to adapt to different circumstances and situations.
2. Creative, Imaginative & Innovative
The Frontier markets is an interesting world of opportunities where just about anything is possible. That’s not to say everything is easy to achieve, but for those who are creative, imaginative and innovative this market is a wonderland of endless possibilities. Leaders in frontier markets who have the vision and strength to understand, embrace and adapt to this bold world find that success isn’t impossible to achieve. By envisioning a purpose that’s larger than life and applicable to the environment, aligning your talent to that purpose and focusing your competencies to make that purpose a reality leaders can truly capture the growth potential that the frontier markets has to offer.
3. Strong Network
The frontier markets are defined primarily by the people who populate it, particularly those who influence change and advancements. It’s then only obvious that to really make an impact it’s not what you can do, but who you know that’ll support your journey. As a leader in frontier markets harnessing your strong personality is much more impactful and rewarding than the processes and systems you build. From startups to established corporations, a well-known fact is that your network is what’ll empower you to succeed.
4. Know Your Stuff
Much like harnessing the power of your network externally, looking inwards is equally of importance. By that I don’t just mean having a command over operational and process matters, but your employees, customers and suppliers as well. These are all the essential ingredients that strong, sustainable and successful organizations possess in their roots. Leaders in frontier markets need to understand the lives and concerns of these vital stakeholders in order to exploit their full potential and utilize their talents effectively to achieve success. Engagement is probably more important (and personal) in these markets than it ever could be anywhere else in the world (though it’s no doubt important anywhere).
5. Being Risk Conscious
If you’re aiming to grow exponentially, you’ll need to have the stomach and capacity to be able to take large risks, deal with the pitfalls and failures (and move forward quickly) and be on top of risk mitigation strategies. Being bold and courageous simply isn’t good enough. It’s about being an exponential leader who can drive their team through gutsy and innovative leadership. Be aware that no great feat can materialize if you’re simply going to play it safe. You’ll need to test the deeper waters and take calculated risks that are willing to exploit opportunities in order to help you and your organization be even more successful.
To really succeed in the frontier markets you’ll need a combination of guts, grit, will power, determination and perseverance. These markets will truly test your will power to the limit and being aware of that fact is just the start. The challenges in these markets will drive you hard. Sure there’ll be times when you question why you’re pushing yourself so hard and if it’s all worth it. But if you’re willing to stay on course you’ll need to be obsessed, intensely committed and willing to make sacrifices. Being a leader in frontier markets isn’t for the casual entrepreneur or the faint hearted. It’s a market for strong willed, determined and bold leaders.
The frontier markets, while challenging, present a brilliant canvas of opportunities for just about anyone. From the talents out there, to the leaders and entrepreneurs and the corporations (both local and multinationals). Everyone who’s involved in the corporate world has opportunities begging for attention and someone to avail them. Being a leader in frontier markets isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, but it is filled with rich experiences that will probably equip you with the ability to succeed just about anywhere.
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