We all have dreams and fantasies about the future. Most of us picture ourselves more successful, wealthier, and happier than we are now, but we will not reach those goals by idle dreaming. Major events loom on the horizon, among them technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, that we can view either as threats to our humanity or as opportunities for advancement. Our individual and corporate success will depend, as never before, on our ability to anticipate and participate in such changes. Unlike dreaming or fantasizing, vision, the first of two integrative skills, helps New Age executives position themselves and their organizations to create and take advantage of future opportunities.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Creative insight precedes discovery. Opportunities, advantages, and strengths are so dynamic and volatile that you must maintain an insightful approach at all times. As previously discussed, the strategic thinker focuses on all three components to serve customers in new ways, finding new advantages over competitors, and exploiting new company strengths. Insight penetrates the superficial attributes of the components of strategic thinking by attacking them conceptually. Consequently, the insightful executive thinks abstractly, weaving a fabric of generalizations from concrete data, experiences, and observations.
Posted by alavanthan at 12:25 PM
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Insight, which helps you spot and take advantage of strategic opportunities, is the first of two foundation skills. New Age executives unite insight with the second foundation skill, sensitivity-understanding and acting upon people’s expectations and needs-to forge the strategy-culture alloy from which excellence is created. These two skills help you successfully manage the two basic components of corporate excellence. Insight requires a mind capable of concentration, one that not only thinks creatively but is capable of adopting a variety of perspectives. Insight depends mainly on physical and mental experience. However, since none of us lives long enough to experience everything, we can easily be trapped within a rigid set of habits, under-utilizing our experience and greatly reducing our ability to spot opportunities, create advantages, and devise solutions to problems.
Posted by alavanthan at 8:24 PM
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
When executives set about the arduous task of forging and ideal alloy from a brilliant strategy and a strong culture, they begin by carefully analyzing two important groups: customers and employees. While strategic thinking aims at getting and keeping customers, culture building attracts, develops, motivates, and unifies the right kind of employees. When the organization’s strategy to get and keep customers requires employees to act and think in unaccustomed ways, employees may respond poorly or even feel resentful. On the other hand, no matter how strongly an organization’s culture motivates and develops employees, if customers do not perceive better products and services as a result, the culture has been wasted.
Posted by alavanthan at 8:23 PM
Monday, August 17, 2009
One plus one doesn’t always equal two. Sometimes the combination of two independent substances results in an alloy with qualities far superior to the sum of the original ingredients. Look around at all the “one plus one equals three” alloys in your world. What would happen to your city’s skyline if builders could not use steel and glass alloys? Where would your home, your car, or your streets be without the alloys that make up bricks, tins, safety glass, and concrete? Likewise, if you separate strategic thinking from culture building or don’t combine them properly in the management of an enterprise, you weaken both the foundation and the structure of excellence. The quality of products and services declines, morale sags, sales and profits plummet, and the enterprise plunges into a sort of corporate Stone Age. Without this unification of strategy and culture, executives cannot create New Age excellence for their organizations.
Posted by alavanthan at 4:23 PM
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Strategy and culture each contribute to the success of any organization. In the past, we have seen strong cultures survive great upheavals in the marketplace. In a few exceptional cases, a strong culture has overcome a stupid strategy, or a smart strategy has prevailed despite a weak culture, but don’t count on such exceptions in our increasingly competitive and sophisticated business world. Long-term success and perennial corporate excellence require alloys of superior strategies and strong cultures.
Posted by alavanthan at 7:22 PM
Friday, August 14, 2009
By culture building we mean selecting, motivating, rewarding, retaining, and unifying good employees. Unfortunately, American management does too little of this. For too long, our business schools have accentuated hard, quantitative management techniques over supposedly “soft” people skills. Culture building requires a sharpening of the “soft” people skills, and it involves three steps: instilling commitment, rewarding competence, and maintaining consistency.
Posted by alavanthan at 10:21 PM
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Strong cultures have always thrived in the best organizations, but we’re just beginning to be able to articulate, describe, and use them to create excellence. One positive side effect of the decade-long passion for strategic planning was the realization that no brilliant strategy can succeed if you can’t implement it. Notice how Webster’s definition of “culture” stresses the act of developing desired traits with expert care and training. With its emphasis on implementation, culture building offers New Age executives a tool for turning well-formulated strategies into results. In a recent survey of 305 chief executive officers, a New York compensation consulting firm found that most of the respondents consider corporate culture critical to their companies’ success, and almost half of them claimed to be emphasizing corporate culture a great deal.
Posted by alavanthan at 7:20 PM
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Family, organizations, and entire nations possess cultures. In a family, parents and even older siblings perform the act of developing children by caring for and educating them, setting certain standards for excellent behavior. One might think of corporations as big families. Management acts to develop its people by caring for and training them, setting goals and standards for excellent performance. To perpetuate the culture, each employee passes valued traits along to succeeding generations.
Posted by alavanthan at 4:20 PM
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Unfortunately, finding, getting, and holding customers are not as easy as the success stories make it seem. To create excellence with strategic thinking, you must master three aspects of the game: your customers, your competitors, and your own company. The requirements for successful strategies are as follows:• You must satisfy customer needs, recognizing that different customers have different needs.
• You must gain a sustainable competitive advantage, keeping product “differentiation” in mind.
• You must capitalize on company strengths, remembering that it takes time to develop them.
Posted by alavanthan at 12:19 PM
Monday, August 3, 2009
Locating, attracting, and holding a customer is the purpose of strategic thinking. Without such a concrete goal, strategic thinking degenerates into an ivory tower experience. To the chagrin of American manufacturers, the Japanese brought their thinking about forklifts down from the ivory tower. The companies become basked in their success, assuming they could never lose such strong positions in a stable, mature industry.
Posted by alavanthan at 7:18 AM
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thinking, planning, and implementation can serve as a working definition of strategy. Throughout history strategy has helped determine success. Ancient villages, tribes, nations, armies, and merchant groups attempted to achieve their goals by finding new ways to conquer enemies, improve living standards, extend political influence, or increase wealth.
Posted by alavanthan at 9:16 PM