Essay Sample: Addressing the 21st-century Leadership Challenges at GDD

Published: 2019-11-20
Essay Sample: Addressing the 21st-century Leadership Challenges at GDD
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership analysis Management Business
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1316 words
11 min read

The process of leading a large organization in the 21st century is one that holds its fair share of difficulties. The art of leadership requires an individual or group of persons to work along set objectives and move a firm from its present position to a better one. Synergy, motivation, clarity of purpose, embracing diversity, innovation, knowledge management, and adopting sustainable approaches are just some of the few concepts that a modern-day leader must work with to achieve success. The leadership at GDD is not exempted from the application of these approaches since they have an impact on the current situation experienced within the firm.

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Leadership challenges facing the 21st-century leader

Globalization is one of the important problems that present day leaders have to handle. The problem of globalization revolves around that it has proven to be an irreversible process thus prompting business executives to adapt quickly rather than wait for the storm to pass. Primarily, firms such as GDD experience challenges due to globalization because they have failed to adopt the international culture. These organizations maintain private practices, which favor the countries of origin as opposed to embracing approaches that support all clients equally (Rowe, Bansal, & Bansal, 2016). GDD must take up strategies to leverage from globalization since it can be used as a way of favoring businesses to operate efficiently at reduced costs due to the access to a variety of goods and services.

The 21st-century leader must also deal with the challenge of adaptability. The marketplace is changing overnight especially due to globalization and the instant sharing of information and ideas. As such, approaches and concepts that worked previously are becoming obsolete at a quick rate. Most importantly, one must balance the level of adaptability with sustainability since the former prompts flexibility while the latter requires individuals to have long-term strategies. Currently, leaders find themselves in a difficult situation where they are expected to master both concepts. The gains from taking up these two concepts in the business are that they lead to continuity. As such, the firm can adapt to adverse situations that arise in the course of doing things.

Additionally, innovation becomes a challenge for leaders in the 21st century it needs to be nurtured and presented to the market in the best way. The tricky part for an individual is to develop the innovative ideas into products that can be traded in the market. Innovation creates a competitive edge by allowing entities to introduce new products to customers. Furthermore, the issue of knowledge management also presents a challenge since visionaries are expected to come up with ways of utilizing the existing knowledge within the workforce in a productive manner (Rowe, Bansal, & Bansal, 2016). The process of converting knowledge into an asset and tool of productivity within the enterprise poses a significant challenge for the team of executives.

Evaluation of GDD`s current status in line with the challenges

At present, GDD is facing several problems due to the aforementioned challenges in 21st-century leadership. For example, the managers have exploited the opportunities that expanding to Africa would present (Allen, 2015). As such, the firm continues to operate at high costs since cargo is carried through direct flights from Europe to North America and vice versa. Failing to embrace globalization means that GDD has not leveraged from the said benefits.

Furthermore, the failure to take up adaptability and sustainability has left the firm operating old aircraft while its competitors use modern aircraft. The decision to make fuel-efficient modifications for the cargo planes has come late and this reflects on the slow adaptability of the firm to make changes, which match with the present technology and market standards. Furthermore, the optimization of flight paths is something that the company is currently considering thus implying that the organization was slow or failed to adapt to the market expansion it enjoyed. The challenge of failing to change has contributed to high operational costs by the firm since cargo is flown through long paths.

The companys philosophy is to maintain green friendly delivery strategies. However, the lack of knowledge management within the company has contributed to the delay in using solar technology and electric vans to replace ground fleet cars that run on diesel and gas. Finally, the challenge of innovation has hindered GDD from introducing new cargo delivery products (Tice, 2007). As such, the firm continues to operate and offer the same services. Innovation would have led to service review and the introduction of new products and services to enjoy a competitive edge.

Practical recommendations for each challenge

On a positive note, GDD has a chance to redeem itself from these difficulties by adopting new strategies that will give the company a competitive edge once again. The recommendations are listed below;

a) Globalization- the first GDD should hire employees from different parts of the world. Secondly, the leaders should approach new markets such as Africa and South America. The benefits from these solutions are that the organization will have a diverse representation of employees who contribute to the knowledge base significantly. Additionally, expansion will lead to a wider clientele. Taking the head start to expand will allow time for establishing the company in the new markets.

B) Adaptability- First, it is imperative to take the leaders through adaptability training. Secondly, the workers should be encouraged to express their ideas regarding the management of business (Rowe, Bansal, & Bansal, 2016). The gains will include having a leadership that recognizes situations that need alternative approaches. Additionally, the employees will be empowered to contribute actively to the management of the firm.

C) Sustainability- Primarily, GDD should have a sustainability plan in the form of Business Continuity Plan (BPP). Next, the leaders should develop conditions, which support sustainability such as innovation. The plan will give a sense of direction and purpose while adopting innovative approaches will help the firm to mitigate the risk of rigidity.

D) Innovation- the recommendations here include encouraging employees by rewarding them when they come up with innovative solutions. Secondly, GDD must invest in resources that facilitate innovation growth such as testing environments where new ideas are evaluated before releasing them to the market (Lewis, 2016). Financially, the firm is assured that each innovative product sent out is well-developed thus avoiding market failure.

E) Knowledge management- first GDD should support the existing structures because employees are the greatest assets in knowledge management. Supporting these structures will ensure the employee's input in the management process is respected and acted on. Secondly, the organization should create an external network with other stakeholders within the cargo transport industry. Developing an external network will ensure that employees brainstorm and share ideas regarding better service delivery. The strategies translate to financial gains since the enterprise begins with utilizing the available knowledge resources within the firm then moves out to seek more knowledge.

Method of implementation

In innovation, GDD should introduce a contest where employees present their innovative ideas to a panel. The contest should also be a competition where the employee with the best strategy or design is selected as the winner. These workers should be granted access to company resources to develop their concepts into an implementable product (Allen, 2015). Additionally, the Executive Directors should promote the employees who emerge as winners in the contest. In an implementation, each challenge must have a theme where employees are required to be innovative towards addressing specific problems at GDD.


Allen, R. (2015). Making Strategic Changes for the 21st Century. Making Strategic Changes for the 21st Century. Retrieved 14 October 2016, from

Lewis, J. (2016). Four Methods of Competitive Advantages. Retrieved 14 October 2016, from

Rowe, A., Bansal, T., & Bansal, T. (2016). Ten Steps to Sustainable Business in 2013 . Retrieved 14 October 2016, from

Tice, C. (2007). Building the 21st Century Leader. Entrepreneur. Retrieved 14 October 2016, from

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