I was asked this week by an academic institution what I thought the key skills for maritime leaders of the future would be. After some thought, I decided that the key skills are familiar ones:
Future Maritime Leaders must continue the tradition of combining up-to-date technical knowledge with commercial acumen. For instance, an understanding of the global LNG as bunker fuel infrastructure is a technical piece of knowledge, while a vision of how to take advantage of it at the right time to provide a competitive advantage is commercial acumen.
Future Maritime Leaders must be able to envisage their companies and operations in the context of Industry 4.0, a hyper-connected and transparent world in which corporate veils evaporate and the asymmetry of information that has provided competitive advantage via broking networks becomes 'democratized' - more easily available more immediately with a faster refresh rate.
The response to this is likely to be an old one: ask yourself, where will my most successful customers be in five or ten years time and how can I join them on that journey? Pick your partners well and you will survive and even flourish.
So: technical understanding, commercial acumen, strategic vision and partnership-building are the top four skills I look for in leaders.