21st Century Leadership Challenges

Competition in the 21st century is stiff than ever; companies are competing for a larger market share all over the world. With the increased competition comes the challenges. Several challenges have emerged in this century, which can only be managed with 21st century ideas and tactics (Rotherham & Willingham, 2010 p. 20). From globalization to innovation, the 21st century has experienced major developments in technology enabling efficiency and informed decision-making. The Global Delivery Direct (GDD) Company delivers packages globally. The company has faced several challenges leading to reduced sales.

The 2015 financial statements showed a 7% decline in sales with the largest percentage drop being in America. This is partly due to the increased competition from the largest courier companies in the U.S. Fed Ex and UPS. The GDC leadership has to come with recommendations to overcome the 21st challenges affecting the company’s profitability. The 21st leadership challenges include sustainability, innovation, adaptability, knowledge management, and globalization.


Globalization offers a wide market where one can market and sell products and services. GDD already operates in most parts of the world. It has divisions in United States, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. The company has 61 international daily flights, serves 246 international airports, and operates in more than 15 countries. The company has made a step in becoming a global organization. One of the recommendations concerning globalization for GDD is to explore other areas especially Africa. Africa offers a great market and a cost effective hub connecting Europe and North America. If GDD launches its operations in Africa, it can increase sales and reduce operation costs. Another recommendation is to fast track the use of electric vans. The current vans use petrol and diesel, which contribute to global warming. Using electric vans will be viewed as a global responsibility, which is good for marketing.

 Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is a dynamic process and an emerging issue in this century. In today’s business world, the only certainty a company has is uncertainty. The only way to remain competitive is to create and manage new knowledge and disseminate it all over the organization. Knowledge management involves finding, creating, and amassing internal knowledge, sharing the knowledge with the organization and applying the knowledge to new situations.

GDD has knowledge that its sales are on the decline. This is due to the increased competition mostly in America by other courier companies. The company expanded widely at startup by using contacts from the founder’s parents. These contacts soon became regular customers. In addition, the state of the art knowledge management technology acquired in 2015 helps to schedule shipping and reduce route costs. The GDD customer innovation workshops bring in new customers; it is recommendable for such workshops to be held regularly to gain more customers. The company has the knowledge that such workshops bring in new customers and so should utilize it all over the world. Another recommendation is for the company to build a brand loyalty. With more customers and brand loyalty, the company can be competitive. The company should develop a feedback system where customers can comment on the service. This way the company will be able to improve on the undesired practices and thus maintain customers.


Sustainability is significant for GDD. The company is facing stiff competition and has to sustain its competitive advantage. The company has a daily international delivery volume of 32,124 packages. The packages are delivered using 80 company owned aircraft and 25 leased aircraft. The company has employed 6,500 employees all over the world. To remain competitive, GDD needs to sustain all of it’s’ operations. Managing all these operations requires capital in terms of finances and human skills (Crittenden et al., 2011 p. 72). The company is already in the process of acquiring a new cargo aircraft at the cost of $206 million. In addition, four of the older model planes are being fitted with fuel-efficient modifications.

The above efforts for sustainability are good but not enough for competition. The company operates all over the world and connecting the routes is not easy. Thus acquiring more aircraft will make the operations more efficient. Fitting the old aircraft with new fuel-efficient systems is not the full answer. The problem is not that they are consuming much fuel but that they are old and inefficient.  Achieving this recommendation requires another recommendation. The founders of the company own 60% of the shares. If the founders issued 20% of their shares to investors, they could raise enough capital to finance the purchase of more aircraft. Sustaining a competitive advantage will increase sales.


Being innovative is a good business practice for competitive advantage. GDD holds customer workshops that focus specifically on the customers. Through these workshops, the company can acquire more customers thus increasing sales. The company is also developing new logistical ideas that will enable the customers to acquire potential growth. The company is looking for other ideas that can collaborate with the workshop idea to propel it to the future.

One of the recommendations for the company is to acquire new and efficient delivery routes. Connecting United States, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean is not a small task. If the company expanded to Africa, it could create a cost effective hub to connect to Europe and North America. Another recommendation is to put more emphasis on the clientele. The company should devise efficient methods of delivering packages for certain clients mostly other companies and business. Specific departments in the operating offices should handle companies’ packages to ensure that companies are maintained as customers. Increased innovation is associated with improved competitive advantage (Correa, 2012 p. 10)


Being able to adapt to the changing business environment is significant for the survival of GDD. There is increased competition from companies such as Fed Ex and UPS, which are American companies. GDD has to keep up with the competition and doing so requires adaptability tactics. Currently, the company is making changes in cultural structures to enable a more collaborative way of making key decisions. The effort also aims to bring the divisions together for resource sharing and communication to enable sharing of ideas and easy implementation. One of the recommendations for GDD is to allow the different divisions to handle their operations. Employees on the ground understand the changing environment and are better suited to make necessary changes to the operations (Hartnell et al., 2011 p.679). Another recommendation is collaborative decision making. There should be a system where the employees can be able to air their ideas. In addition, any employee who airs an idea should be involved in its implementation. This way the employees will be motivated to come up with even more ideas.

Launching operations in Africa is not an easy task for the executive Directors. The first thing will be to select a country to operate in and conduct a cost feasibility study to determine if the launching is feasible. After determining that operating in Africa is feasible, the next step is to raise the required capital. Launching operations in a new continent require a large amount of capital. The executive directors have to come up with ways of raising that capital without affecting other operations. With the capital raised, the next thing will be to acquire necessary documents in the country of operations and launching the operations.

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