Imagine a balloon. It expands and once it reached its maximum point, it will stop expanding and start exploding.
Rapid, unbridled, uncontrollable growth creates pressures and issues for the organization. Capacity is over-stretched than normal, new needs are required to make it successful. There is a tendency to forsake other boring functions in the organization to service the change which had left a huge demand for management and staff. A huge imbalance threatens order and stability. The management is left to fend for itself to put back a new normal of arrangements. In short, caught with its pants down.
When times are great, they roll and frolic, not making/creating strategies that will outlast the growth in a measured way. There is a tendency to ride on the high wave unaware of the risks and threat, but when the wave disappears leaving the organization unable to sustain the growth. They crash into the shore with battered limbs.
It can be a major capital gain, major project, a business partner that has to be serviced, a new donor with high demands, program scope creep, new acquisition, etc. Anything that has been committed and is eating a major chunk of organizational resources without clear and compelling alignment to the overall business strategy.
This is an unsustainable and non-desirable growth that you don't want to have.
Be careful when you wish for growth. Only with the alignment to strategy can you justify investing in more and more for far greater returns.
For business owners, corporate management, Boards and Directors of non-profits,
this is a continuation on the series on the fundamental questions that relate to the over-all strategy of the organization.
What key issues do you want to address?
This involves an analysis of your key drivers of successes, your main challenges, and the kinds of environment the organization is up against.
This is also involves strategic thinking not planning as the latter is mere extrapolation of the present. It wont get you any where.
This is also about considering what key issues are vital to the success of the strategy as well as issues that the strategy is fundamentally rearranging, addressing/resolving.
Remember a strategy is a forward-motion vehicle to your destination. It doesn't have a reverse gear!
Did you know that Albert Einstein's brain was dissected after he died and scientists tried to figure out his genius by doing that? That is an extreme measure.
Most of the time, we try to decipher the inner thoughts of our leaders and managers to get a glimpse of their thought processes so that we can have clues to the rationale behind their actions and motivations.
Imagine your supervisor, CEO, head of the division, owner of the company starts doing something that nobody understands. This happens more than you think. Well, the old man doesn't know how to communicate or much less articulate where exactly the business is going and if our jobs will be the next in the firing line.
Companies who haven't made the implicit explicit suffer from unnecessary complexities. Without clear, rational, and strategic thinking, CEOs and leaders cannot articulate and galvanize support from their managers and staffers. Too many times, assumptions that do not conform to the realities of the market, and honest valuation of where the business is growing, where threats are coming from, on and so forth, lose its meaning. Take the case of Sears. The giant company folded up recently because the CEO has lost sight of why it was a great success in the past, forces a new strategy that is totally alien to their core DNA and thus imploded from within.
The challenge is getting the implicit assumptions out and putting on the table, dissecting it, challenging it, validating it, and raising it up to pass the standards of what the market requires and what assets the organization have/can muster. That is the place where strategic thinking starts in organizations. Alternatives can only be sought if the original idea has been validated to be no longer tenable in the context of the competitive landscape, obsolescence of product/services, or organizational failure.
Steve Jobs started with the strategy where personal computers are present in every homes-this strategy is part of the larger vision for computers to become part of the lives of people-not just in companies and institutions as computing tools for business. Avon believes in the Avon lady-as the business strategy that underlies the assumptions that the best distribution is through personal connections & word-of-mouth than using a store-front retail approach.
The best organizations have truly expressed in many creative ways what they stand for, their values and operational missions, their business strategies, and their stories that connect with their stakeholders in a compelling way.
The journey towards their next level of growths starts with understanding why the status quo no longer works/or why it is viable and define the possibilities that can come from that realization.
Do you want a piece of Einstein's brain? Hmmm.
Organizations looking for the perfect strategy ends up shooting their foot in the process.
There is no such thing as a perfect strategy. Strategies are products of their own time and influences. It is what you make it collectively that will create the conditions for proper implementation and engagement.
There is too much time devoted to planning that as soon as the strategies are done, the tendency is to undermine it by saying the strategies aren't good enough for their standards, etc.
The real reason behind the dissatisfaction is not because the strategies aren't any good. It is because they cannot implement it in a way that justifies their actions.
Having another strategy to conform to another set of conditions is like putting monies down the drain. Unless the conditions that impede or block effective implementation are addressed, the organization is acting like the cycling hamster.
Too much effort for nothing.
Are you planning to improve your organization this year? or are you gearing up to do the same-old, same-old?
A lot of organizations these days tend to do the latter. They think that by cruising along and being more busy (than means doubling up on the amount of programs and activities), they are being strategic and effective. Effectiveness here means in my vocabulary the ability to achieve the outcomes and results they wish to seek through their efforts.
Businesses, nonprofits, and governments cruising along and wishfully thinking that they can copy past success by doing the same thing are totally misled. If there is no effort to improve and surpass past year's performance, status can keeps mean sweeping the problem under the rug delaying the resolution of some of the issues pestering the organization that will actually help the organization move forward.
Are you stalling to discuss the next direction of your organization for fear of catching more problems than anticipated? What about the changing environment where complacency doesn't do you any good?
Get out of your comfort bubble and tackle the obstacles in building a new and secure strategic direction before an overwhelming situation compels it at your own expense.
There are many ways that the customer is not always right.
They do not know what they want regarding a new product, if that product has not been out in the market yet, don’t know its functionality or how their lives can be made easier. Your FGD can’t salvage that.
They can be unruly, excessively demanding, and unfair towards service crews such as bellboys, servers, hotel clerks and cleaners, and telephone operators or customer service reps and other lower-level personnel who always, almost get the bad end of things.
They can be verbally and physically aggressive and hostile for no apparent reason and had to be dismissed either by security guards or marshals. That is game-over!
They can tell you they don’t like your products, services, offerings for whatever reason because they don’t need your product that much to look closer and spend some time investing in its usefulness. You don’t need this type of customers. Other customers want your product, services, and offerings because they deeply know that it can solve their problems. Learn how to smell which customers are serious versus who are just looking around.
They can give you insights as to what innovation you can do based on their experience of your products, but at the end of the day, it is your responsibility as the owner of the business to smell if it is the right opportunity for you.
Lastly, you can fire problematic clients and customers. You don’t want their business more than you don’t want troublesome vendors, suppliers, and other personalities that you don’t have to deal with because there are those that will gladly do business with you and take the effort to nurture the relationship.
Just because they can pay doesn’t mean that they are right for your venture as much as just because they are your neighbors doesn't mean you want to invite them for dinner and hang out with your family.
What do you think are the ways that customers aren't always right? Tell me your thoughts.