One of the world’s leading economic experts, Professor Stephane Garelli, has urged a radical rethink in the way UAE companies engineer their future business strategies – concentrating on “competitive players not just competent people” to outsmart competition in the decades ahead.
Garelli, professor at both the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), one of the world’s leading business schools, and at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, is in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi as guest of First Gulf Bank – one of the Emirates’ leading financial institutions.
Garelli outlined the key winning thought process required in a new world of competitiveness at a First Gulf Bank-sponsored First Gulf Economic Seminar.
He challenged the audience: “What are the changes in the economic, business, market and social environment, which will affect companies in 2006 and beyond? – How will companies adapt? What management competencies and personal skills should people develop to succeed in this brave new world of competitiveness?”
Prof. Garelli told his audience that “competitiveness thrives on two capabilities: the management of efficiency and the management of change”.
He added: “The world of competitiveness is not a cosy club any longer; new countries, new companies and new brands are redefining the name of the game. Such an environment implies new management competencies and personal skills. Competent people will not be enough. Competitive people will prevail.“
Prof. Garelli said that today, very few countries remain closed to business and with the opening of many former state planned economies, companies must now develop growth strategies and change their mindset.
“In such a global context, firms run the risk of remoteness from their customers. The complexity of business models has exploded. Processes need to be simplified. Customers struggle with options fatigue. Today, less is often more. Successful business models are simple ones.
“These changes create formidable opportunities for the UAE,” Prof Garelli concluded.
The inaugural First Gulf Economic Seminar was held at the prestigious Emirates Palace Hotel. To be held annually, the initiative will bring together a cross-section of the UAE’s top business executives with thought-leaders from the world of finance, business and economics.
The First Gulf Economic Seminar initiative underscores First Gulf Bank’s efforts to drive forward the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a whole.
“Diversification is something First Gulf Bank has a vested interest in as its breadth of product portfolio attests,” said André Sayegh, CEO, First Gulf Bank.
“First Gulf Bank’s operations span retail, big ticket financing, home ownership loans, Islamic and corporate financing as well as hedge fund development. Diversification will continue to be an underlying ethos of the bank and will extend not only to products and services but also to its geographic footprint as we expand regionally and internationally.”
The holder of a Phd from the University of Lausanne, Prof. Garelli is the director of the IMD’s World Competitive Center and an authority on World Competitiveness. His research focuses particularly on how nations and enterprises compete in international markets.
Prof. Garelli publishes the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook – the most comprehensive and reputed study in the field of the competitiveness of nations. This yearly report compares the competitiveness of 61 countries and regions using 312 criteria.