All Articles Leadership Management VIP Corner: Stephen Miles discusses how a global economy affects leadership

VIP Corner: Stephen Miles discusses how a global economy affects leadership

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SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Stephen Miles, vice chairman of Heidrick & Struggles, a leadership consulting firm.

Twentieth-century leaders could focus on their business’ presence within its own industry and geography, but the 21st century is about broader economic ecosystems, says leadership consultant Stephen Miles. To stay competitive today, CEOs must be flexible enough to navigate through an increasingly global business environment — a task that leaders don’t have in their educational background.

“What makes that hard for people is that there is no business school, no Ph.D. There is no training for this. You actually have to go out and learn on the job and figure out the nuance of being successful in these various jurisdictions,” Miles says.

The global market also means that CEOs have to become more involved in finding ways to stay competitive. With a stronger emphasis on nationalized policies, outside businesses are no longer automatically welcomed with open arms, and CEO representation by proxy is less likely to be successful.

Leaders looking to enter an international marketplace need to figure out what distinguishes their company and what value their business adds to that country. Is it your company’s strong sense of corporate social responsibility? Is it what your business adds to that society? Whatever your company stands for, everything is being scrutinized at a different level, Miles said.

“You can’t be a parasite in the 21st century,” he added. “There has to be a symbiotic relationship between your company and that country.”

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