Discussion by: catphil
The Economist (19th April) analyzed the performance of Pope Francis as follows: (summarized version):
When appointed CEO “of the world’s oldest multinational”, he had found a crisis situation. Pentecostal competitors were stealing market share in the emerging world, including in Latin America, where Francis ran the Argentine office. In its traditional markets, scandals were scaring off customers and demoralizing the sales force. Recruitment was difficult, despite the offer of lifetime employment in a tough economy. The firm’s finances were also a mess. The Vatican bank as a vortex of corruption and incompetence. The board was divided and weak. Francis’s predecessor had resigned “amid dark rumours that the founder and chairman, a rarely seen elderly bearded figure whose portrait adorns the Sistine boardroom, had intervened”.
In just a year, the business has recovered a lot of its self-confidence Global retail outlets were increasing their activity again. The sales force now talks about a “Francis effect”. How has a septuagenarian Argentine succeeded in galvanizing one of the world’s stodgiest outfits? Essentially by grasping three management principles.
The first is a classic lesson in core competences. Francis has refocused his organisation on one mission: helping the poor. This new focus has allowed the company to spend fewer resources on ancillary businesses, such as engaging in doctrinal disputes or staging elaborate ceremonies. The “poor-first strategy” is also aimed squarely at emerging markets, where the potential for growth is greatest but competition fiercest.
Along with the new strategic focus, the pope is employing two management tools to good effect. One is a brand repositioning. The other is a restructuring. He has brought in McKinsey and KPMG to look at the church’s administrative machinery and overhaul the Vatican bank.
Will it work? Established critics maintain it is all incense-smoke and mirrors. Others insist that more sweeping change, including a bigger role for women, is needed. "The chairman’s attitude is unknown. Some analysts interpret the absence of plagues of boils and frogs as approbation; others point out that He moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform."
Would participants in this site be interested to comment on this analysis, and particularly, offer similar ones with respect to the efforts of competing brands to gain or maintain market share?