A sit-down with Stéphane Garelli, Professor of World Competitiveness:

The key to competitiveness—in good times and in bad

“There is no secret to being competitive,” says Professor Stéphane Garelli, Professor Emeritus of World Competitiveness at IMD and the University of Lausanne. “It takes resilience, agility and cost control. And one more thing...” His advice is to build the stamina that can keep a company going — in good times, and especially in bad ones.

We spoke to Professor Garelli after his presentation at Statoil Future Energy Forum in Stavanger earlier this summer.

 “Competition is hard, and it takes resilience to pull through.” His message is loud and clear. In recent years Garelli has spent much time talking to business leaders who are trying to stay competitive in a rapidly changing business climate. For energy companies like Statoil, the challenges are many. New oil and gas exporters, a change in geopolitics, and the need for more energy combined with the threat of climate change has given traction to better solutions, within oil and gas and new energy.

Garelli believes demand for oil and gas will increase in the years to come, but that is no reason for companies like Statoil to rest. On the contrary; he asks Statoil to explore and develop, both new oil and gas fields and new energy markets.

“Statoil is an energy company, and energy is many things,” is his message. But he cautions that competition can come from where you least expect it, and can be disruptive:

“One more thing: make sure you understand more about the world around you.

“Some of the biggest changes are not coming from management techniques, but from society. This is where you have the challenge: from what younger generations want, from new companies, different industry sectors, maybe companies that are coming from the emerging world,” he says.

Stéphane Garelli is Professor Emeritus of World Competitiveness at IMD and Professor at the University of Lausanne. For many years, he was also the Managing Director of the World Economic Forum and the Davos Symposium.

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