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Middle East companies to focus on ‘quarter-to-quarter’ approach for faster recovery

Middle East companies to focus on ‘quarter-to-quarter’ approach for faster recovery

A ‘distributed leadership model’ is the key element for companies in the Middle East and globally to recover their businesses rapidly and effectively post-pandemic amid increasing expectations of a faster economic rebound, latest research has revealed. The report by the EMA Partners UAE, part of the global leadership search and advisory firm EMA Partners, also

A ‘distributed leadership model’ is the key element for companies in the Middle East and globally to recover their businesses rapidly and effectively post-pandemic amid increasing expectations of a faster economic rebound, latest research has revealed.

The report by the EMA Partners UAE, part of the global leadership search and advisory firm EMA Partners, also called upon company boards and C-Suite leaders to focus on managing periods of uncertainty and ambiguity, while keeping a hawk-eyed approach for spotting high-growth opportunities.

“The economic impact of the pandemic is yet to be fully realised. Governments and businesses continue to be in a ‘wait and watch’ mode, even as we are witnessing green shoots,” the report, authored by Amarjeet Dutta and Bala Kumaran, partner and consultant respectively at EMA Partners UAE, pointed out.

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“Focus on a quarter-to-quarter approach instead of year-on-year,” is the report’s message to companies across the Middle East and beyond.

However, it said the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is recovering rapidly from the pandemic thanks to government-led micro and macroeconomic measures and swift vaccination drives.

“It is, therefore, imperative for individual businesses to reassess their challenges in a dynamic environment and build agility and resilience within their organisations.

“In the long run, businesses will realise that resilience is a capability that must be mastered and honed, not an alarm that must be activated in case of a crisis,” said the report, based on extensive interactions with business leaders and analysis of performances of companies across MENA and other regions.

The EMA Partners research highlighted that agility is the key, more-so in times of crisis. “Companies have realised that building an organisational culture, which supports quick decision making, is critical to growth in good times and also to ride through crisis situations,” it said.

Revitalisation of hospitality, travel and tourism, technology and real estate sectors are encouraging developments in the UAE and will be beneficial for the Expo 2020.

The report also advised company boards and C-Suite leaders to align strategy and capital allocation with long-term value creation drivers, while diligently reviewing and improving preparedness and resilience to potential crises and systemic shocks.

“Strengthen corporate governance and periodically review with all concerned for progress and blind spots, while adopting an effective ‘zoom in’ and ‘zoom out’ approach,” is the report’s advice to the company board of directors.

The report called upon company chief executive officers (CEOs) to be ‘predictive and prescriptive’, rather than being ‘descriptive and diagnostic’, and also to leverage data to accelerate execution.

“Getting back to basics – cross-selling and up-selling to existing customers to create more upsides, focus on people’s agenda, drive growth through high potential talent and have ‘playbooks’ ready when needed as per changing situations,” is what the report’s suggestions for company CEOs.

Meanwhile, the report had a strong word of caution for human resource (HR) leaderships of companies.

“A spike in attrition and disengagement could be on the way – HR leaders will need to pay close attention to one aspect of this to ensure the long-term sustainability of people and performance,” the report cautioned.

The report said the Saudi economy is likely to improve in lockstep with the global recovery.

EMA Partners said its research has shown that companies in the Middle East, as in other regions, should accelerate new ways of working, incorporating remote work, flexible work and reviewing work design and architecture.

“Developing a ‘post-pandemic mind set’ for equitable and sustainable incentives should be a priority for companies,” the report said.

The report also asked companies’ to re-orient their marketing strategies with a view to generate income.

“Take advantage of marketing’s increased remit to re-establish this function as a revenue generator in addition to demand creation, advertising, and promotion. Since online purchases increased substantially, focus on creating ‘stories’ across all channels around brands for better consumer connect will be critical,” the report said.

Commenting on the prospects of economic recoveries in the UAE and Saudi Arabia – the region’s two major economies – the report said the economies of these countries are likely to improve in lockstep with the global recovery.

“Revitalisation of hospitality, travel and tourism, technology and real estate sectors are encouraging developments in the UAE and will be beneficial for the Expo 2020, while the ‘Vision 2030’ by Saudi Arabia will be an added stimulus to the current uptake in the overall improvement and growth acceleration in the kingdom,” the report said.

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