The role of executive leadership varies by industry. In the automotive sector, change is constant, whether with new technologies or necessary movement to low-cost manufacturing regions. The bottom line is that the industry can change in a flash, and those in charge must be ready for market fluctuations and unforgiving competition.
When searching for a leader in the automotive industry, keep the following factors in mind.
As the consulting firm Korn Ferry stated, the global automotive industry is always changing. Executive-level professionals in this area need to think on an international level and must have experience with both rises and falls in the market.
Competition is another big factor in today's automotive industry. Low-cost production is a key consideration, which requires knowledge about which regions worldwide can help companies find an effective balance in their cost structure.
And finally, technology in this industry is an unstoppable force, and executives must remain privy to these changes, as well as willing to implement them into their company's planning for future products and practices.
For instance, car consumers are demanding new smartphone technologies be integrated into vehicles, such as easy-to-use wireless connectivity and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Failure to include these features in today's climate could mean a consumer looks to a competitor instead.
Traits to look for in leadership candidates
To adequately address the above industry trends, executives must possess the following traits:
- A competitive spirit. These individuals must always be monitoring the global industry, ready to make an innovative or risky decision to gain a fierce competitive advantage. An eye for upcoming threats is another crucial competitive trait.
- International experience. Because the industry is now at its heart international, experience managing on this scale is important.
- Financially forward-thinking. Executive leadership must be able to analyze financial trends both within the company and compared to the global market. Planning requires both a diagnostic viewpoint and a keen eye for future gains and losses.
- Ability to adapt. The automotive industry requires a willingness to change and adapt at a moment's notice. Regulations quickly tighten, such as safety requirements or emissions caps.
Today's automotive executives must wear many hats and must continue to be forward-thinking, both in financial planning and technological advancement. The automotive industry first ramped up in the 20th century, and in 2018 there are expected to be 81.5 million passenger car sales worldwide, according to Statista. Today, we're dealing with an extremely competitive and complex driving force in the economy.
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