Geopolitical webinar – The new geopolitical risk supercycle: Navigating a changing business environment

  • Webinar 26 March 2024 26 March 2024
  • Global

  • Geopolitical risk

When will things return to normal? In a recent client webinar, “The new geopolitical risk supercycle: Navigating a changing business environment”, senior partner Carolena Gordon sat down with geopolitical risk strategist Tina Fordham to help clients better anticipate the risks emerging from volatility and exploit the opportunities. Our goal as a firm is to help our clients successfully navigate risk through fresh perspectives. What follows is a summary of Tina’s conversation with Carolena, along with key takeaways for clients. We hope you find these insights valuable.

Tina challenged leaders to reconsider their perspectives, emphasising the unlikelihood of returning to "normal."

So, what's the key to success?

To navigate these complexities, leaders must embrace a “zeitgeist mentality" - an almost uncanny ability to understand the context they live in and seize the opportunities their times present. 

Additionally, Tina advises that leaders should anticipate the unexpected, maintain agility, foster an open dialogue, and be positive. When these strategies are applied together, they cultivate a prepared mindset, empowering leaders to seize opportunities and mitigate potential risks.

Want to dive deeper into these insights? Watch our webinar recording and read our webinar takeaways below.


Webinar takeaways: Helping clients navigate a changing business environment

Expect the unexpected

We’re at a critical inflection point. Unless you believe the future is predetermined, a lot will depend on the choices made in the coming months. We should expect a structural increase in disruptions and prepare for the unexpected. Take the upcoming US elections and the speculation surrounding potential outcomes, for instance; businesses should ready themselves for prolonged uncertainty. Despite challenges, areas of strong growth and opportunity may still emerge.

Be present and agile

Tina cautions against clinging to the past, as a return to pre-2008 conditions is unlikely. Instead, she advises staying informed and adaptable to effectively manage interconnected crises.  Leaders must embrace a “zeitgeist mentality”, to understand the context they live in and seize the opportunities their times present.

Boost your PQ, or Political Quotient

PQ measures your organisation's ability to recognise and adapt to emerging geopolitical shifts. This is crucial for businesses and boards to foresee commercial outcomes beyond headlines. But be aware of information overload and concentrate on what is most relevant to your business and stakeholders.

Priorise plausible hypotheticals

Shift thinking from focusing on forecasts or predictions to stress-testing scenarios that have a realistic chance of happening, such as geopolitical tensions, social shifts and technological advancements, and prepare for a wide range of potential outcomes. 

Understand that risks vary across a spectrum

Recognise that risks exist on a spectrum rather than as binary – yes or no – possibilities. Geopolitics have shown us that not everyone views the world, money and power in the same way. Avoid dismissing scenarios based solely on your own worldview. Instead, consider the many factors that influence outcomes in a changing environment.

Expand the scope of risk assessment

Consider potential threats beyond conventional “black swan” events, focusing on often overlooked risk factors or ‘failures of imagination’. Learn from past events like the pandemic to anticipate and prepare for unforeseen circumstances in business strategies.

Recognise long-term risk drivers

Be aware that structural shifts like climate change and political upheavals often have a gradual trajectory, influencing markets over time. Stay informed to anticipate their impact on your investments. Despite market calmness, there's a concentration of risk factors. Note this contrast, as financial markets prioritise broader economic stability over interest rates. Even if the market appears stable now, significant risks persist.

Embrace a culture of preparedness

Take Louis Pasteur's advice to heart: "chance favours the prepared mind”. Instead of ignoring risks, prepare for them and assess them with plausible scenarios. Recognise the importance of preparedness and our collective influence in navigating challenges with resilience and agility.

Foster open conversations

Encourage open discussions about geopolitical risks and global forces within your leadership team. Move away from relying solely on experts and invite diverse perspectives to inform business strategies. Initiating discussions with open-ended questions, such as ‘What are you thinking now?’, can help include different viewpoints and enhance decision-making processes.

Stay optimistic

In a seemingly fractured world, opportunities still exist. Recognise your influence at different levels and seek ways to contribute rather than being solely reactive to events. While the situation may be complex, remaining curious, open-minded, and prepared is invaluable. 

Tina Fordham is a leading independent strategist and advisor to the C-suite working at the intersection of geopolitics, the business environment and the drivers of social change. A trailblazer in the field of political risk, Tina has 25 years’ experience advising senior leaders - from prime ministers and 3-star generals to boards, institutional investors and the United Nations - about the implications of global developments. Fordham Global Foresight provides actionable, forward-looking guidance and helps firms raise their “PQ” - Political Quotient.


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