We are in the midst of a global tilt—an irreversible shift of economic power from North to South: from the U.S., Europe, and Japan in the Northern hemisphere to China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries mostly in the Southern hemisphere. The center of gravity for jobs, wealth, and market opportunities is moving, disrupting the world economic order as we have known it with dizzying speed.
If you're an American or European, any assumptions you may have about national and managerial superiority are obsolete.
Businesses in the South have ready access to the capital and expertise they need to grow. Their leaders have just as much knowledge, talent, and drive as you do. And somewhat under the radar, they are unleashing their entrepreneurial verve to scale up fast and grab once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
The empires they are building could rival those created in the nineteenth-century by the likes of Cornelius Vanderbilt, J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller. These businesses will soon be competing with yours everywhere on the planet, even if you're not aware of them yet.
But the global tilt is not to be feared.
Those who embrace it and learn to navigate in it will find tremendous opportunities, whether they are from the North or the South. One billion new consumers have joined the world economy in the past 10 years, and two billion more are coming in the next 10. This new consumer base—much of it middle class—will add roughly $10 trillion to the global economy in the coming decade.
(Read More: Managers—Don't Hate Them, Pity Them!)
The challenge is to adapt how you run your business to the reality of the global tilt.
The usual approaches to strategy, for example, may put your company at risk. The idea of seeking markets where you can apply existing core competencies keeps you rooted to the past and tends to drive incremental growth. Those competencies might in fact be on their way to being obsolete. Just consider what happened to Kodak, once one of the world's great technology companies. It took great pride in expanding its film business to China in the 1990s but failed to reckon with the fact that film was being displaced by digitization.
You need a new methodology to be vigilant in spotting bigger opportunities and a willingness to build the capabilities you'll need to pursue them. You must be mentally prepared to make bold moves and strategic bets when they're called for, including letting go of core competencies that are not key to your future.