(The following is a recent interview of Tom Casey by the Peru American Chamber of Commerce on the topic of Coaching for Peru.)
Tom Casey is an expert in the development of organizational transformation strategies for rapidly growing multinational or transitioning corporations. He has consulted in over 20 countries and virtually every economic sector. Moreover, he is the founder and Managing Principal of Discussion Partner Collaborative, an Executive Advisory firm with over 200 consultants in 19 locations.
While on one of his many visits to Peru, he shared with us his point of view on how much our country has changed during the last few years, as well as the positive impact its economic boom has had on its professional management level. From his experience in Latin America, he applauds the good performance standards from Peruvian high executives, as he has personally worked with many of them, from sectors as diverse as banking, services, manufacturing, and construction. Although he tries not to compare directly, probably because of the evident different contexts, he cannot help but indicate that Peru has much going for it in comparison to other countries in South America like Venezuela where he has lived and worked. Truth be told, AMCHAM has to agree that for any American interested in international affairs (this probably goes for anybody from outside this region for that matter), Latin America is a perfect example of opportunities, tensions and extremes. Tom indicated for him and his U.S. colleagues that after working in Latin America everywhere else seems boring!
Nevertheless, it comes clear to Tom what advantages Peru has in order to be regarded as a successful economic and business model for emerging countries. First of all, he points out that Peru enjoys the right strategy and vision to develop and prosper, thanks to highly skilled managers continuing to reach decision-making positions. A lot of Peruvians have correctly invested in themselves during the past couple of decades; evidence of this is the appropriate leadership style that Peru has adopted to improve both its international image, as much as the “system’s” image to common folk in most parts of the country. Tom ventured that since 1994 when he first began consulting in Peru there has been tremendous change in how leaders position themselves to compete globally
Of course, one cannot talk about Peru without mentioning its tremendous potential with regards to its raw materials and acute financial services, as well as its wonderful tourist attractions, ancient history and renowned cuisine. Peru’s sheer size is a plus, both geographically and demographically: unlike many other emerging economies, Peru has the right population density, growth and age segmentation, in other words, we have the right amount of eligible young work force. What is more, and thanks to the economic sprint, the earnings potential vis-à-vis our country size has greatly improved (not to mention our per capita consumption figures have started to attract important investments, as more and more companies open offices as they see Peru is good business).
Notwithstanding, it is not all cheers and glory for us, as we do face many challenges with regards to our top executive human capital. Despite all the improvements, Tom does sense Peruvians have to work on a number of managerial skills. For instance, he has seen good project management skills, but they could certainly be better; and a person’s performance may not always be duly recognized, nor bad performance sanctioned. Women’s talent is not fully exploited, as seen on the percentage of those with university and advanced degrees (one of the lowest in the region). Last but not least (and most countries in the region can relate to this), the never-ending accountability issue (the lack of a Spanish word for it does not help either)…which may also explain our unpunctuality.
Tom stated that the biggest change he has observed is his enthusiasm whereby managers are now aggressively challenging their strategies, business models, subordinates, and themselves to ensure that our tremendous opportunities are exploited.
When asked for suggestions for Peruvian managers, Tom had a number of them: “Think globally as Peru is clearly a player in the regional and world economy; continue to assertively develop talent inclusive of expanding opportunities for female executives; reinforce the need for managers to hold themselves accountable for achieving expectations; and finally to reinforce motivation, by differentiating the reward strategies allocating the monies to those who have performed the best.”