Blueprint for Business SurvivalBy Faisal Hoque | Posted 2012-01-04 Email Print
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The economic and business models of the 20th century are inadequate today to ensure tomorrow’s business success; transform or die.
There is a global transformation underway that represents extraordinary risk. Business strategies that embrace new socio-economic models and couple powerful, far-reaching new technologies, are transforming the way we do business and the very nature of the 21st-century marketplace. The economic and business models of the 20th century are inadequate today to ensure tomorrow’s business success. It is time to move forward. Nothing short of a total new thinking will assure the essential opportunities to move forward.
Transformation is a proactive process for an individual or institution, regardless of purpose or mission, which begins with a passionate need to effect a larger change in both the internal and external environment.
The transformative process is nearly identical for every organization today: introduce a new goal, add the variable (exogenic factor), and transform it into creativity and innovation. Transformation is not a single, large-scale revamping (although it might encompass that), but rather myriad changes — some large, some small, some planned for and others unanticipated, but all in a pixilation with influence that spreads far and wide. An essential driver for transformation is thinking differently about established ways and means, by which we mean revisiting the 20th-century economic, business, social models that simply aren’t working efficiently any longer.
Transformation in and of itself is not a silver bullet, and only rarely produces permanent results. Instead, it is the result of careful, deliberative, strategic planning and progressive cost-benefit analysis that takes tactical issues into consideration and follows the evolution described earlier. Then, once activated by the exogenic factor, it opens the gates to transformation, creativity, and innovation. Once released, creativity and innovation have the potential to produce both an anticipated and unanticipated sustainable impact on the institutional model, the culture, and the world in fundamental and transformative ways.
Progress will not be achieved by doing the same things we’ve always done and expecting different results. Unless new, progressive models are employed, it is unlikely true transformation and its outcomes can occur.
Yet today, institutions still place the greatest emphasis on financial analysis vs. operational capabilities. While they are essential, such thinking is based on decades-old methods – quarterly reports and balance sheets, to be specific – which are insufficient for understanding, tracking, and governing the corporate performance of today’s volatile market. To be more specific:
• Operating managers often work in relative isolation from the market and its operating functions, producing the familiar myopia that often occurs
• Executive leadership often has limited ability to guide and oversee operations because of inconsistent access to key information
• Board of Directors and Investors often has a limited view of ongoing operations, lacking the perspective or information needed to understand how to guide enterprises.
Operating managers are tasked with growing the business and reporting clear sailing up the lines of management. It’s tricky navigation, especially when cost containment is driving so many decisions today. Lowering costs is important, but it must be factored into an overall business strategy. In today’s increasingly volatile and complex business environment, there are a number of new and emerging operating challenges that must be addressed. Some of the most critical are:
• Accurately evaluating growth potential, while balancing organic versus inorganic growth;
• Developing sustainable processes to reach or exceed revenue growth goals, cut costs to preserve recurring dividends, and protect top- and bottom-lines for enterprises;
• Implementing strategies for building sustainable brand recognition, in concert with building brilliant management teams;
• Demonstrating progressive, demonstrable, repeatable results to executive leadership, the board, and investors that will sustain the firm today and tomorrow.
Saying, “but this is how we’ve always done business” is not sufficient for today’s challenges. That’s the old seat-of-the-pants model. Establishing specific objectives and applying reliable performance indicators are keys to a manageable process. To that end, every enterprise (for profit, non-profit, or public sector) should be using transparent operating blueprints that connect the dots between financial reporting and actual operations in order to accurately represent such information on behalf of an organization.