By Hank Moore, Corporate Strategist
From tough economic times, things can and will move forward again. Those who weather the current downturn and strategize their courses will be more successful in the next upturn.
Business must learn the lessons from the corporate scandals and the economic downturn. The ways in which business corrects itself will restore the economy and produce extraordinary business opportunities.
The great mistake is thinking that tomorrow will be the same as today. Some 90 percent of all firms are out of business by year 10. Some 70 percent of businesses cannot or should not grow any further.
Factors that led to the current business crisis included a mindset that the smartest guys had all the answers, that the kings of hype had plenty of clothes, and a widespread failure to keep it real about the real assets and productivity of companies.
Contributing factors included an ill-informed marketplace, too much reliance upon hype in the public dialog, allowing over-speculation by the ego-driven people making the deals. Also to blame were complicity by the media, inaction by the public, lack of safeguards, a society that does not support or reward accountability, business school education that is behind the times, and workers who felt entitled to jobs and security.
Companies spend so much time rearranging small pieces of their business puzzles that they neglect long-term strategic planning and miss potential successes. Some 98 percent of companies have no real plan of action and meander toward uncertainty and perils.
Each year, one-third of the U.S. Gross National Product goes toward cleaning up damages caused by companies that failed to take proper actions. Look no further than the cost of the current financial crisis for an example. The costs of band-aid surgery for problems and make-good work cost business six times that of proper planning, oversight, and accountability. Some 92 percent of problems stem from poor management decisions.
Half of the corporate workforce is functionally illiterate, making costly decisions and failing to conserve company resources. We must utilize technology as the wonderful machinery that it is but not let it preclude holistic development of the business.
Customer service is presently at an all-time low and getting worse. Business does not comprehend how it mistreats or neglects its means of support. Customer-focused management must be inculcated into every dynamic of business, at every level in the organization, and with accountability factors attached.
Society wants quick fixes, which usually lead to bills of goods someone is selling. Business advice often is obtained from the wrong consultants. Companies buy bills of goods from people who recommend what they’re selling, rather than what is really needed. Thus, consultants become scapegoats and are given a bad name. Blaming someone else is a way of avoiding the processes of improvement and quality. Tomorrow is ours to craft, not that of vendors.
Deregulation has not worked with most industries. The marketplace cannot decide, govern and regulate on its own. Waves of re-regulation are coming.
Some 98 percent of all organizations—including major corporations, small businesses, public-sector entities and community groups—have no real plan for where they are going or how they will get there. Of the 2 percent that do, their plans usually consist of sales goals, lists of projects to be completed, trite slogans that pass for mission statements, or marketing hype.
Organizations stop growing because they have failed to make investments for the future. Rather than plan to grow and follow the plan, they rationalize organizational setbacks, excuse poor service or quality, and avoid change, all the while denying the need for change and avoiding any planning. Too often, they rely on what worked for them in the past, on buzzwords, and on incomplete strategies. I’ve also seen businesses in which a paralysis creeps in, keeping them from doing anything at all.
Change and growth are terms that have been hyped, distorted, and used out of context. Many people wrongly believe that the economy changes itself, that a new brand will cover the irregularities or that technology is the driving factor. They define “change” from their limited perspective and label those who do not subscribe to their exact perspectives as “anti-change.” The reality is that planned business growth and tactical changes are the guiding factors. Futurism is a process of thinking, reasoning, creative problem solving, interaction with others, thinking outside your frame of reference and personal commitment. Futurism is not esoteric, nor is it a quick fix. It is a process of change, which is 90 percent beneficial.
Planned, orderly growth for companies means generating constant, reliable ideas and creative approaches for management. It means understanding and adapting to external influences that profoundly affect the climate in which companies do business.
To benefit from change and to grow, each organization must understand where it’s been and where it might go. Research trends and spot opportunities. Put more focus upon running a successful organization. Get a qualified business mentor. Identify stakeholders and work with them. Predict and benefit from cycles in business. Broaden the scope of your services. Find creative ways to collaborate.
A growth plan or strategic plan is a must for any organization that intends to survive and thrive in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Companies need to heed messages from the marketplace telling them of changing market conditions, new global business imperatives, new partnering concepts, recognition of new stakeholders, and other changes outside of their influence that may profoundly affect them.
Take a big picture business approach by looking at the whole, then at the parts as they relate to the whole, then at the whole again. Plan to grow, and grow by the plan.
Key Messages to Recall and Apply Toward Your Business Future:
A regular contributor to www.trainingmag.com, Hank Moore has advised 5,000-plus client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public-sector agencies, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations). He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, futurism, and big picture issues that profoundly affect the business climate. Moore conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas, and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening, and evolving business, while mastering change. His current book is “The Business Tree,” published by Career Press. Moore also speaks at conferences and facilitates corporate retreats on strategy. He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoken at five Economic Summits. To read his complete biography, visit http://www.hankmoore.com.