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Extraordinary uncertainty permeates today's business environment, but this does not necessarily mean it's less favourable. It depends largely on how well you think. There has never been a more opportune time to think strategically about your future. The alternative may well be, no future!
Never before has there been such an opportunity. Today most organisations are running around in circles, frightened, confused and cutting back without sufficient thought to the future.
For a few organisations there's no alternative. They have to cut muscle to save the body.
For many organisations, the main problem is in their thinking. They've caught the "FUD disease" (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). It's a disease that's extremely contagious. It's carried in the air by fearomones. It's picked up by our most base instinct. It produces vicious cycles and herd-like behaviour. It probably worked back on the Savannah when attacked by lions, but it certainly does not work now.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying everything is okay. Of course you need to be careful, but this is not the time to stop thinking. Indeed it's exactly the opposite.
Now is the right time to be clear about where you're heading, what matters and where to put your horsepower. And have everyone on the same page all pulling together. I call it focussed, fast and flexible.
The organisations that will survive and thrive the current recession will be focussed.
When I talk about focussed, I mean doing less of what doesn't matter and more of what does matter. Focus simplifies. It clarifies. It eliminates all the conflicting priorities and allows everyone to cut through the confusion and achieve the essence. Focus helps individuals become far more effective, but its true power is when everyone is focussed and clear about the same results and strategies to achieve them. Just imagine for a minute the energy this creates. Just like the picture on the front of the jigsaw puzzle, it's easier to do the puzzle if you've seen the picture first. Especially if you can see how your piece helps create the whole picture.
The very definition of strategy is to be strongest at the decisive point. To know what matters and to put your horsepower at this point.
By all means, cut back on what does not matter. But my concern is, if businesses behave as they did during the last recession, they will cut the wrong things: knowledge, relationships, service delivery and the goodwill of their customers.
The organisations that survive and thrive the current recession will be fast.
When I talk about "fast" I don't mean blindly working faster or harder. Indeed I mean exactly the opposite. Slow down, think, agree on direction and what matters then align all the organisation (processes structures, technology, rewards, measures, management methods, culture and personal beliefs) around achieving it. Lack of integration is the largest single cause of complexity and slowness.
When it comes to speed, it's not the absolute speed that's important, rather success depends on relative speed. Today most organisations are running round in circles, frightened, confused and going nowhere.
It's a really good time to put those front-line people, who may not be as busy as usual, in project teams to eliminate unnecessary work, streamline processes that customers hate and build for the future.
I'm concerned that businesses may behave as they did during the last recession and become slower not faster, more divided rather than more aligned and more fearful rather than powerful.
The organisations that survive and thrive the current recession will be flexible.
Flexibility is partly about maintaining options for the future. An organisation with many options open to the future is a healthier and more flexible organisation than one that has closed off its options.
Flexibility is also the ability to move resources (people, time and money) around quickly and easily.
The organisations that are in trouble today lack flexibility and have no options. The future has never been more uncertain, but this does not mean that the future is less favourable. Organisations that are flexible enough to move quickly to take advantage of a new environment will end up as tomorrow's winners.
I'm concerned that businesses may behave as they did during the last recession and close off options for the future and reduce their ability to move resources around quickly and easily. For more...
If the patterns we saw after the last recession repeat, a significantly different group of organisations will emerge as the future leaders of New Zealand business. This is your opportunity.
There will also be many casualties. Don't be one of them.
We are at one of those rare moments in history where what you do, or don't do, in the next couple of months may make the difference. Don't delay. Somethings are just too risky to put off.
I can help. In this area I am probably New Zealand's most experienced business consultant.
Give me a call on 0800 4 virtual.
Virtual Group Business Consultants
free phone: 0800 4 virtual or 04 570 0727
Bruce works with large mature organisations who what to get their people out of silos, working together, rather than fighting each other over resources and power. As a result customers get a seamless service.
He calls it, "Liberating the human spirit at work".