The conference I moderated at the University of Pisa on the topic International business development. Is there a common enlightening and empowering trait? featured interaction among the International MBA students and a panel of four entrepreneurs and managers active on the global market in different fields (mechanical industrial, fashion, new technologies applied to health management and improvement, services for patent and innovation development) from the start-up to the major corporation.
Three have been the common traits emerging strongly from the debate: innovation, teamwork, talent. All of them related to the overall need to create value in the perception of the customer, and the customers are not all alike even within the same sector.
Innovation. It is not just fashionable or trendy, it is a must demanded by a market in continuos dynamic evolution and increasingly demanding from several points of view. Innovate to personalise to the customer needs while increasing efficiency and managing to slow down a progressive, almost inevitable, shrinking of operational margins almost across all of the sectors.
Teamwork. It is increasingly the essential leverage to performance. Both at the technical or managerial level, without the ability to lead stimulating actual teamwork turns into an ineffective and dangerous for survival waste of resources.
Talent. Creating value through innovation and teamwork nowadays depend on talent. The ability to express top level performance in a consistent way. To note that within the debate we have had different perspectives on talent selecting and managing: is it better to have top talented people with low interpersonal skills (even nasty) or talented-tending-to-average people with effective interpersonal skills? Some have had no doubt: it is part of the job description of a manager to handle ‘nasty’ talent and make it effective even within teamwork. Some have stated that in any case the development and focus on international skills for anybody is paramount.
The interaction among professionals and the MBA participants has been strong, stimulated by all of this. Overall a concept has been clear: international markets are changing and shifting at an increasingly speed. There is the need to consistently analyse where is the best place, the best contexts, where to develop production, sales markets, financing projects.