Adaptive leadership and learning and development are key
Solving complex organizational issues such as brand positioning, market entry strategies, performance management, digital transformation, and building workforce engagement is of crucial importance to many businesses today. Dr. Nicos Rossides, an expert in management, leadership, and innovation in the industry spoke to Diplomacy&Commerce magazine about his views on these topics and the future of doing business.
Can you tell us about the history and mission of MASMI Research Group, and how the company has evolved over time?
MASMI Research Group is a full-service market research agency, with a head office in London, and offices across Central/Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Our Belgrade office was established in 2001 and has an impressive track record of hundreds of studies across various industries, for both multinational and local clients.
We also have an affiliated company, DMR (which I co-founded and also has staff in Serbia) that specializes in generating AI-driven marketing insights from big data, complementing and enhancing traditional market research.
What are some of your most challenging projects, and how do you overcome the obstacles you face?
One could say that all projects are challenging since our research findings are used to drive evidence-based decision-making on topics such as concept and product testing, brand positioning, advertising testing, customer experience management, and so on.
What are some common mistakes that you see companies make when it comes to strategic planning and execution, and how do you help your clients avoid these pitfalls?
One common pitfall is to assume that what works in a given market (say the UK or the US) can be applied in other contexts without any research. The cultural context and specificities of local markets need to always be considered – hence the need to test concepts and products as well as brand positioning and advertising execution in local markets.
The cultural context and specificities of local markets need to always be considered
In addition to market research and marketing insights, you are also active in management consulting. What advice would you give someone just starting out in management consulting, and what skills do you think are essential for success in this field?
Yes, I have a management consulting business that is aimed at helping solve complex organizational issues such as brand positioning, market entry strategies, performance management, digital transformation, and building workforce engagement.
My advice to aspiring management consultants is to first gain some real business experience before joining a consulting firm – in fields like business analytics, finance, and marketing which can act as a solid springboard for broader competencies such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and project management.
Also, young aspiring consultants need to have an appetite for continuously learning new skills and competencies. The skills that are relevant today are likely to be largely obsolete in 5 years’ time so learning and development are key to staying relevant.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing businesses today, and how do you help your clients address these challenges?
No doubt, technological disruption is a key factor behind how business is changing and, as a result, how companies need to adapt through continuous innovation. We help clients understand the forces shaping worldwide markets (including digitalization and big data) so that they can develop and adapt their strategies accordingly.
You recently gave a series of lectures on: The New World Of Work: Implications On Workforce Engagement.
Yes, during my lectures in Novi Sad, Belgrade, and Kragujevac I covered the changing “world of work” and how managers can respond to the new challenges that arise. Here is a brief synopsis.
The 21st century has brought about a blurring of our ‘worlds’: the biological, physical, and digital. This is profoundly affecting life as well as the very meaning and conduct of work while creating new challenges for how organizations deal with a range of tasks that are critical to managing effectively: finding and retaining talent, dealing with uncertainty, coping with remote or hybrid work, as well as the shifting landscape of relevant skills and organizational capabilities.
Several mega-trends, technological disruption being the most pivotal, are reshaping the world of work and require a change of mindset as regards how we conceptualize the new “psychological contract” between organizations and their employees as well as the increasingly important category of independent workers (“gig work”). In short, the core challenge is how to engage our workforce in ways that rebalance our priorities so as to resonate with changing employee and customer aspirations, while reinforcing competitiveness through leveraging the power of digital transformation and AI. The ability to innovate has become an absolute must in this context.
Organizations need to adapt and innovate to remain competitive and this requires adaptive leadership – one that is capable of adjusting and pivoting in the face of constant change while attempting to balance two key goals: the operational challenge of flexible modes of work (remote, hybrid, office) combined with increasing digitalization and engaging the workforce in ways that meet customers’ and employees’ changing demands and aspirations.
The skills that are relevant today are likely to be largely obsolete in 5 years’ time
These lectures drew on your recent book “Engaging The Workforce: The Grand Management Challenge of the 21st Century”. Are you satisfied with the reception and how do you see the state of management learning in Serbia?
During the three lectures I delivered, I was impressed by the insightful comments made by faculty and students and the active discussion that ensued on both the subject of workforce engagement and relevant managerial strategies. There was huge interest in the topic. A lively discussion is always a sign that the subject is relevant and engaging. There were even suggestions for translating my book into Serbian which I’ll actively pursue with my publishers.