“Preserving Order Amid Change in NAFTA.” “The EU May Bend to Keep From Breaking.” “U.K. Firms Prepare for Post-Brexit World Even Before Talks Begin.” These are just a few of the recent headlines to cause sleepless nights among U.S. business leaders.
While our geopolitical environment has never been what one might call “static,” today we’re dealing with greater complexity — and faster change — than ever before. In the past, keeping up with currency fluctuations and official trade policies may have been sufficient to navigate the international business environment. Not so today. Nor can a quick scan of each day’s top headlines offer the insights necessary to interpret and respond to a constantly shifting geopolitical playing field. Strategists need context to understand the dimensions of global changes so that they can avoid risks and identify opportunities.
For individuals, today’s world news can feel confusing and unsettling when considering the rise of nationalism, protectionism and political extremes across the globe. For companies, assessing the impact and future implications of legislative, regulatory and other changes across a matrix of regions is becoming increasingly cumbersome.
When business leaders view today’s international environment through the same lens they used five years ago; they may be placing their companies’ interests at risk.
Here are just a few of the developments that we hear and read most about when we think of geopolitical change and global business.
Stratfor’s VP of Analysis, Reva Goujon wrote recently that some of the changes referenced in this post may be symptoms rooted in the evolution of longer-term forces like shifts in global trade, automation technology and demographic changes.
For example, automation and global trade integration will continue to make workers feel as if their livelihoods are at risk. "A resurgence of nationalism in stressful economic times is natural, and it will be a significant force unraveling the European Union and reshaping the United States' interactions with allies and adversaries alike."
Goujon further points out "history has shown that anxiety is an especially potent emotion that politicians can channel. We see the symptoms of this in the form of potential impact from trade wars, increasing nationalism, and the political use of sanctions to satisfy disenfranchising populations.”
So waiting for things to get back to “normal" might not be a great strategy if the trends we are managing to are indeed manifestations of fundamental shifts that will continue play out over the long-term.
Business leaders realize that keeping up with a complex geopolitical scene is a full-time job, requiring not only the capacity to understand current developments but also the ability to interpret their impact on global business relations. That is why many leaders are seeking strategic partners who understand the global environment and who can turn raw information into a true strategic asset.
Here are a few of the reasons Stratfor’s members and clients have cited in their decisions to seek out a strategic partner:
By partnering with a geopolitical intelligence firm such as Stratfor, business leaders can sleep better at night, knowing they have the knowledge they need to navigate today’s complex, perilous global environment. For the last 20 years, international decision-makers have recognized the unique advantages that the Stratfor team offers, including:
While today’s geopolitical environment is complex, unstable and perilous, we must remember that it is also rife with opportunity, and the future belongs to those who can predict it.
Armed with the tailored insights they need to anticipate and adapt to change, strategically minded businesses can capitalize instantly on developments around the world to not only manage risk but also pursue new strategic advantages.
When they seek out intelligence partners like Stratfor, business leaders have at their fingertips the tailored strategic insights they need to survive and thrive on the global scene. For these leaders, the future is not just less risky, but full of emerging opportunities.
Ken Maranian is Stratfor's chief product officer, leading the creation of a suite of new enteprise level lens products, including Stratfor Threat Lens.