Long-term thinking is the future for business success - CNBC Africa

Long-term thinking is the future for business success


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A handshake between businessmen. PHOTO: Getty Images

“We must change the dialogue from what we do with the money we make to how we make the money. There is an ethical way to run a company and be profitable,” said PepsiCo USA chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi in a statement during the 44th World Economic Forum, which is currently underway in Davos, Switzerland.

Under this year’s theme ‘The reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business’, a drive to hire CEOs and board members with a long-term vision is crucial to increase job creation and economic growth.

“We need systemic change in how companies are valued. If that is not the case, good policy will always depend on the goodwill of a few CEOs,” said Feike Sijbesma, CEO and chairman of Netherlands’ Royal DSM managing board.

He added that companies had the power to lobby governments towards policies of long-term value creation, especially as policy sets the framework of a country’s trade and industry.

Aron Cramer, president and CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, which is based in the United States, explained that companies in particular also had the power to advocate for new accounting laws and market trading systems.

“You need rules of the game that create incentives for a long-term vision,” he said.

Corporate influence can however go beyond government, the economy and policy. Business leaders and company heads at the conference called upon their counterparts to support business schools and education.

While long-term thinking and investing is now at the core of the business world, using the failures of the 2008 and 2009 economic crisis, and of companies such as Enron, are strong examples that future corporates and businesses should not forget.

Dennis Nally, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International, added that the element of trust should be the foundation to current and future businesses.

“Without that trust, there will be implications for the global economic recovery,” he said.