A few years ago, I have written about the concept of blue ocean.
To fortify this idea, I have encountered recently that it is wise to move upstream when there are bigger sea creatures and not get clipped by a speeding boat and hit by ski boards when you are closer to shore. The former gives you the wide room to maneuver and avoid the predators while the latter constricts your basic movements.
Organizations concoct arbitrary rules, policies, and standards without due consideration to the actual costs and value that these inputs could do to obstruct relations with their customers, suppliers, and partners.
More rules created becomes barriers for taxpayers, businesses, and stakeholders to access services, programs and opportunities for partnerships.
Designed to safeguard an objective process, smaller organizations become their own enemies when they make these arbitrary rules to their detriment. There is a word for that 'bureaucracy.'
Bureaucratic organizations tend to treat themselves as insulated from growth and results orientation, with the pr0pensity to perpetuate themselves regardless of their impacts and relevance to society.
From non-profits, associations, community clubs, government organizations, and other types of community initiatives, and social enterprises, the first question to ask: how can we get rid of the problem so that we can get out of the way?
Are we there yet? The little boy asked his parents from the back of the van. Eager to get into the destination, he forgets that the trip itself is one big adventure.
Like that little boy, some of us are still persistently asking the authorities, our leaders, our neighbors, the statisticians, or any one who wants to care, "are we there yet?" in terms of economic recovery.
Are we at the tail-end? in the mid-wing? or completely out of it without us realizing or feeling different? Statistics do not say much. Perception is reality.
Instead of asking 'are we there yet' what can we do right now to steel up and get going despite and in spite the economic woes we are experiencing as a province, with policies left and right that try to suppressed our natural resources and gifts, and the kinds of leaders bent on reversing all the decades of economic development we had built.
All these taken together should give us the fodder to
-strategize not only to survive but to grow, beat the competition, and dominate our markets;
-define our value proposition and solicit more feedback from our loyal customers;
-now is also the time to invest not hoard 'precious dollars' to help us bounce back better when the boom is back;
-seriously create a mindset that takes setbacks as good feedback;
This 'are we there yet? persistence could be driving all of us mad.
Let's stop this whining and moaning to realize we are creating our doom and gloom prophesies. We have the agency, volition, and control within our leadership roles to get back on the right track.
Did I say stop whining?
The Fraser Canyon is beautiful and treacherous at the same time. It is not for new drivers as it is one of the oldest roads in B.C. Traversing this road takes skill, planning, and masterful execution to get through unscathed. It also takes familiarity with these roads to be able to set contingency measures along the way.
There are sharp turns, zigzags, and steep hills, and difficult narrow passes. It is important to stay awake, alert, and anticipatory of the next difficult move.
Taking sharp turns in management parlance has a different meaning. It means getting out of your normal situation (whatever that normal is) and taking risks to reinvent yourself, your organization, and your initiatives to take it to the next level, leaving behind anything that doesn't help you get there.
What are the signs saying that you need to take the next sharp turn? Traffic signs help you navigate difficult roads and alerting motorists of the potential dangers on the road. There are also signs that alert you that you are 'stuck' without you knowing:
1. People in the organization are defensive, conservative, and fearful of needful change;
2. People in the organization refuse to heed to environmental changes and trends that affect the business;
3. People are comfortable with the level of growth and do not want to 'rock' the boat that much;
4. Progress takes time and the next growth is such an uphill climb compared to when you are starting;
5. Deals run out, market shrinks, customers/clients stop buying for some reason;
6. The management is protective of earlier successes and cannot imagine a different future;
Some of these signs represent the truism that past success does not determine future performance.
Relaxing and cruising along is fine on a nice day in a nice road.
Do not do that when you are building your business or organization.
It's nice to reach a plateau.
You can have a break, walk around, smell the roses, enjoy the scenery, take some photos along the way, have a snack, and rest your legs after the long drive. But you can't stay too long.
All plateaus lead to a decline. While staying there increases pleasure and comfort, it doesn't allow you to reach new heights where you can experience a different level of accomplishment- the next summit.
Think about that in your organizational life and in your career trajectory.
You might be in a plateau too long to figure out you are running circles and not moving an inch to your destination.
There are many approaches and methods that one can use to deal with a management issue. Not all of them, though can get you directly to the solution.
Some are too cumbersome, you don't even want to embark on the program. Even for the personal empowerment solutions, you wonder if the nine steps towards debt-free lifestyle can make you even broke!
That nine steps or twelve stages will not get you closer to your destination unless you break it down and only use what is pragmatic for your situation.
Blindly following the prescribed actions without considering if it is appropriate, value-adding, and practically easy to execute is wasting precious time and effort.
Do the needful-get a big cauldron and mix them all.
1. What gets traction, has long-term promise & viability, and resonates well with the culture and direction of your organization?
2. Aside from costs, what time commitment and effort are involved?
3. Who is championing this and will ensure that things get done properly?
If you find it difficult answering these questions, then you have yet to learn about the proposed solution and get your head down to work.
Look for evergreen principles and eschew the fads and newer models.
In five years, these will fade and you will be surprised Drucker's ideas are as relevant as fifty years ago!
Scarcity mentality in people is very dangerous. And if applied in organizations, it is doubly lethal.
It can cause organizations to be reactive, defensive, and insecure, hoarding the little asset they have thinking that it would protect them from the ravages of change.
With little that they have, they are afraid to invest in strengthening their core and increasing their value, thereby getting stuck in diminishing returns.
They are not ready to innovate, experiment, take prudent risks, change anything substantial because they are afraid to lose.
Being afraid to lose instead of going for the win is what separates the winning organizations from those that have decided to stay behind and wait.