There is nothing more catastrophic than deploying the wrong Market Leader in the wrong market (the Market Leader is defined here as someone with Profit and Loss accountability in a defined market or geography). It potentially can stall the momentum of the business, create reputational damage and derail perfectly competent leaders.

Such deployment or appointment decisions by companies with global markets calls for a more rigourous process to ensure that such appointments are ‘fit for purpose’. Sadly these deployment decisions are often made on the basis of expediency e.g. who is happy to be take on an assignment into that region/country/market and generally thought to be competent, who has tenure, who can be trusted to not go ‘native’ and so on.

While the company’s Leadership Model may serve as a good ‘first pass’ for identifying potential contenders through the company’s succession planning process, it has its limitations in determining the best candidates to deploy in key markets.

For arguments sake let’s consider 2 categories of markets:  mature/stable markets and emerging/growth markets (of course this is a gross generalisation as markets fall across that entire continuum).

Market leaders who thrive in emerging markets have an ‘investment mindset’ while those who thrive in stable markets have a ‘management mindset’. However apart from mindset distinctions, there are a number of significant distinctions that if ignored can result in disastrous appointments.

For example the growth/emerging markets vs. stable/mature market leader profiles may look like this:

To get such deployment/appointment decisions right a company will need to invest in increasing the rigour of its decision making process, ensuring its assessment processes produce the sort of granularity of judgments these distinctions call for.

For more on this or other related ideas contact

Written by Meena Thuraisingham
Director and Principal, Talent Invest

Meena Thuraisingham is a consultant, author, executive coach and thought leader in the area of People and Culture. An organisational psychologist by training, she founded TalentInvest, a niche consulting practice, advising global clients in the UK, Asia and Australia in Capability and Culture. Meena is also a regular speaker internationally on leadership effectiveness and culture change.

Her published books are The Secret Life of Decisions, Careers Unplugged and Derailed!. Get Your Copy Today