Industry digest: Indecision breeds failure in the automotive industry

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Many leaders are hesitant about hiring because they seem unsure what is best for their business

Business-critical vacancies often go unfilled as leaders find themselves caught in the headlights

According to a new report from KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Federation, business leaders across a range of sectors are increasingly hesitant about hiring people because of the current economic uncertainty. 

I would go further. From what I am seeing in the automotive industry, too many leaders are hesitant about hiring because they seem unsure what is best for their business, leading to paralysis by indecision. 

At a time of rapid change in the industry coupled with a serious skills shortage, never has it been so important for senior leaders to be decisive, set a clear strategic vision and have the courage of their convictions to find the growth, the competitive advantage or the revenue opportunities.

A great example of positive action in another sector was the decision by HSBC to rescue the UK arm of the Silicon Valley Bank following its collapse last month. Working through the weekend and taking a calculated risk, this swift action provided a lifeline for 200-plus start-up companies, giving them the confidence to keep innovating. 

In contrast, when it comes to recruitment in the automotive industry, certain leaders seem to be caught in the headlights, with briefs and roles changing mid-search, candidates left dangling and business-critical vacancies remaining unfilled, sometimes for months on end. 

This is certainly a by-product of the transformation taking place in the industry, with businesses having to adjust to new technologies, changing consumer behaviour, new business models and a tough and tightening market, but a lack of decision-making only compounds the problem.

The best leaders have the agility and entrepreneurial skills to embrace unpredictability, decide which path to take, even if that takes them into uncharted territory, and then get on with it. 

A recent positive example was the leader of a motorcycle manufacturer being faced with the challenge of a senior-level retirement. By taking decisive action and committing to a clear brief, they appointed a fantastic replacement within a month. The speed and focus demonstrated to the candidates that the leadership of the brand had vision and commitment.    

For me, it is a question of mindset. The changes occurring in the automotive and mobility sector have turned some leaders’ minds inwards and it can become an excuse for indecision. The focus turns to restructuring and internal business transformation, when it should be about how to take advantage of the opportunities out there and grow the business. 

Life is about making choices. Sometimes we make good ones, sometimes bad, but the worst option is to dither.

Change and crises bring opportunities. Leaders make the most of them. 

Lynda Ennis, founder of global automotive and mobility executive search company Ennis & Co

Source: Autocar

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