One of my main missions in 2023 is to redefine sustainable growth.
Although sustainable growth is often associated with environmental progress — and rightfully so! — it has the potential to encompass far more than green decision-making. Sustainable growth is what happens when you pair a forward-thinking mindset with a holistic view. It considers geopolitical, socio-economic, cultural, religious, and environmental consequences.
In other words, sustainable growth is the result of looking forward and adapting to an ever-changing “normal”. This couldn’t be more relevant in these times!
Remember when Spiderman said, with great power comes great responsibility?
As leaders, our decisions have a more significant impact than most. Not only do our choices influence our businesses and stakeholders, but they impact our communities and the world at large.
Luckily, sustainable management is not only conscientious but profitable. Companies that consider their long-term vision, impact, and community integration fare better than companies with weaker foresight. If you were on the fence, the time to make the shift is now!
I’d like to take Peugeot and Volkswagen’s market entrance strategies as an example.
When Peugeot and Volkswagen entered China’s car market in the 1980s, Peugeot set up a factory in Guangzhou with two old French production lines. On the other hand, Volkswagen set up factories in Shanghai — and later Changchun — and reinvested roughly $2 billion back into China’s market between 1984 and 1998. This money was reinvested to develop new innovations and production methods within China.
Peugeot chose Guangzhou as it was closer to Hong Kong and further from the central Chinese government. In contrast, Volkswagen decided on locations in North-East China to be closer to China’s heavy industry capital. Although Peugeot initially found success, they were located in the epicenter of soft industry and instead of reinvesting their profit, they transferred profit out of China out of fear of loss.
Peugeot was forced out of China’s market in 1997, whereas Volkswagen is now one of the most successful automotive partners in China’s car industry.
Volkswagen was dynamic and responsive to an increasingly competitive market, whereas Peugeot stayed stuck in its old ways. A forward-thinking mentality followed by strategic action allowed Volkswagen to succeed. Details like factory location, production style, and reinvestment all seemed like minor differences but were what allowed Volkswagen to keep up when the market got hot. Crazy, hey?
When I was the managing partner at IMA, forward-thinking strategizing enabled me to triple the company's growth in 2009.
Yes, during the last global financial crisis. I know.
At the time, my management consulting firm primarily focused on the construction industry. When the financial crisis hit, the stock market and real estate market crashed. Charity funding shrank. It was a scary time and we needed a new strategy for success.
After researching new market trends, the world economic and political structure, and evolving sustainability practices and conventions, I established IMA’s sustainable development sector. A team of professionals providing turn-key solutions that assisted clients in making the shift to clean-tech, renewable energy, and sustainable business management.
As a result, I expanded the company’s businesses across three continents in two years.
This is because sustainable growth not only works, but is our best strategy against an ever-changing world. Future-driven and impact-driven growth keeps our companies resilient and allows us to thrive against all odds. We succeed when we recognize the context we are coming from and the context we are moving towards. Success is sustainable, calculated, attentive, and always flexible.
Over the last few years as an executive coach, I have helped many companies with developing sustainable growth strategies. If you have questions about forward-thinking strategizing and sustainable growth for your business, I can help.
I invite you to book a free coaching consultation, no-obligation chat with me today.