The primary business challenge in today's emerging markets can be summarised in two words: "rapid growth".
This phrase is certainly buzzing around the business community, and it seems to be the desire of every corporate board. In other words, simple growth is no longer acceptable, and we are now in an era in which rapid growth is the expectation.
This can be seen even in the blockbuster film Moneyball, which is based on the author Michael Lewis's true story about the management of a baseball team. In the film adaptation, Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, is played by the actor Brad Pitt, who personifies rapid-growth leadership once he is challenged by Peter Brand, the team's assistant general manager, who is played by the actor Jonah Hill.
In the film, Mr Brand's character gets Mr Beane to rethink his management approach by saying, "There is an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening. And this leads people who run Major League Baseball teams to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams."
The Brand character goes on to simplify the equation by saying; "People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn't be to buy players; your goal should be to buy wins."
While the sport of baseball may not travel well around the world, the point of Brand's focusing on the system and asking different questions is an important lesson.
In business, the consequences of using a traditional approach - given the vast market potential available - leads to, at best, lost revenue. At its worst, the wrong approach to addressing the challenge of rapid growth can lead to long and extending sales cycles and unpredictable business outcomes, even though the market opportunities are exploding.
In business, as was the case in Moneyball, there is an imperfect understanding as to where rapid growth comes from - or, for that matter, even where growth comes from.
The leadership equivalent of "buying players" instead of "buying wins" tends to manifest itself in organisational paralysis. The percentage of business opportunities available is increasing exponentially, but the percentage of business opportunities being attacked is relatively static or increasing only incrementally.
Conventional thinking focuses on asset utilisation, cash flows, operational excellence, customer and market understanding and a mix of products and services. While these are important factors, the goal remains growth - whether top line, bottom line or market share. And, to grow, it comes down to the ability and approach of leadership.
In the absence of rapid growth leadership, there will not be sustained growth.
If an organisation wants to increase its customer base and loyalty, and achieve organisational success, the focus needs to be on rapid growth. Common leadership approaches that were appropriate for simpler times and a simpler global economy cannot manage the escalation in complexity, customer requirements and competition that businesses in the emerging markets are now facing.
Certainly, doing more of something that is not working in the first place is not the way to compete more effectively and deliver rapid growth.
Tommy Weir is an authority on fast-growth and emerging-market leadership, the author of The CEO Shift and the managing director of the Emerging Market Leadership Center