Looking beyond the present

Looking beyond the present

Safian Khan, Partner at COSA

Safian is an expert in international strategic management. Having a broad understanding of business operations in an international context Safian’s key work focuses on strategic decision-making working alongside COSA’s clients to solve issues, create value, maximize growth facilitating them to expand their operations internationally and improve business performance.

The rapidly changing global landscape requires leaders within the corporate world to sharpen their approach in gaining fresh insights, a sense of direction, and executing their long-term goals.

The current issues facing us, such as the war in Ukraine, the global pandemic, the energy crisis, the climate crisis, and inflation, have created a challenging environment for executives. In other words, how do we protect our stability in the future from our current decisions? Therefore, it is vital to go beyond the current context to systematically examine the issues that may inhibit the progress of our organizations. From forming new relationships to financial transactions, the prospects of facing new or old threats may be alarming. Therefore, stakeholders rush to take action to ensure their organizations continued survival whilst overlooking the possibility of future threats due to the lack of action in the current moment or due to their decision-making process lacking clarity which cannot be determined through quantifiable or predictive models.

It is essential to think about the organization's security critically, allowing us to group current and future threats collectively. In addition, it is vital to have complete visibility into your organization's activity, including keeping in check with your supply chain and the risks (such as corruption) in those crucial
relationships. Crises such as the global pandemic and, most recently, the war in Ukraine have created a sense of anxiety worldwide due to the uncertainty and the lack of strategy when dealing with crises to such a large extent. In effect, this permits hostile entities to use the uncertainty and disorder brought by these crises to disrupt an organization's operations and exploit its weaknesses.

It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact risk to an organization with tangible evidence; however, building resilience should not only cover the organization's short-term threats. Instead, it should be a constant process embedded in the daily operations of the organization, most typically within the compliance and
security departments. Knowing your organization's internal and external environment shapes your decision-making process and your team's day-to-day functions. As a result, seeking your organization's security from harmful practices, corruption, cybercrime, etc., is not achieved in a linear pathway; instead, there are various pathways towards securing your organization from threats and risks. Again, it is emphasized that decision-makers consider the input of relevant intelligence specialists that may have specific sector knowledge.

Leaders should make brave strategic decisions backed by intelligence in times of crisis and instability to be the frontrunner in their respective industries.

Questions you might ask to avoid risks:

  • Do we have a system to regularly pick up signals across the organization and filter them into options on which the organization can act?
  • Are our approaches to risk identification adequately innovative, or are we ill-equipped to best map out numerous developments?
  • Is our senior management team effective at confidently executing vital strategic decisions, or do we need to revamp our processes, compliance system, or mindset in approaching such strategic choices?
  • Do we collect the lessons from past events and experiences, such as crises, and act them out, so they become innate in our company culture?