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November 16, 2012

Ready to Rethink your Business Yet?

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:41 AM

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The challenging business environment is clearly compelling organizations to think anew. Of course, most enterprises appreciate the need to 'rethink the business' but I am uncertain if we all pursue this agenda - down the ranks - with equal enthusiasm. With 'rethinking' perceived to be mostly synonymous with colossal structural alterations and deep-rooted changes in strategy, I suppose I won't be entirely incorrect in saying - several prefer to defer, delay or deny the inevitable not wanting to give up the comfort of the familiar or even perhaps risk business continuity. But rethinking the business need not necessarily be an agonizingly painful period before the enterprise emerges stronger in a happier future, as several of us may well imagine. It can be as simple as developing new or even just improved existing capabilities, with a holistic view of the larger business intent, through a framework for small but strategically significant multi disciplinary change.

Why should 'rethinking the business' always entail colossal plans for ambitious makeovers that entail months of rigorous change management. It can be as simple as strategizing to grasp the customer's needs just before she does...Staying one small but crucial step ahead of the competition...Getting one more advantage from technology investments...Or bringing a little more value to the business ecosystem. These simple but significant steps can accrue to build a stronger and more resilient business organization with the prowess and agility to respond to changing business dynamics effectively. In summary, businesses can 'rethink' without the anguish of 'rip and replace' undertakings...by planning and continuously executing small improvements or innovations that give them a marginal advantage, however small, in a changing market...and in effect let's them be 'the last man standing' even through an economic downturn.

So, what does 'rethinking the business' simply and effectively actually translate into? To develop an achievable agenda for small but strategically significant multi disciplinary change, I think, a good place to get started is taking a hard close look at the pillars on which rests the foundation of any business - customer experience, the products & services portfolio along with productivity and operational efficiency. This would play a critical role in creating a clear understanding of the Lag Indicators. Then businesses must also invest in establishing a direct pipeline for feeds into the enterprise for customer insights, competitor moves and other macroeconomic changes churning outside of the organization. A robust engine must be instituted to funnel it all for analysis and a mechanism established to feed this intelligence, in a meaningful and relevant form, to the entire ecosystem of business participants. This would paint an accurate picture of the Lead Indicators relevant in the context of the business. 

Continuously leveraging understanding of the Lead Indicators that strategically impact Lag Indicators, can point enterprises in the right direction towards simple and effective change. Effective empowerment of employees would then be crucial to enable customer touch points to take prompt decisions and create superior customer experience. More synergies in the partner ecosystem, to collaborate and arrive at product/service offerings best suited for customers, would be that last mile. Everything geared to grow in confidence and build the necessary momentum to hurdle the challenges around.

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