As entrepreneurs, wealth creators and employers, we all carry a great responsibility within our communities. Hamel points out how “What Matters Now” are 5 challenges:
1. Values: Trust in our big businesses and institutions has never been lower. Just think, Enron, Lehman Brothers, even Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae. It is up to us to align our strategic plans with doing the right things such as;
- Cooperating with our people rather than exploiting them.
- Putting other people first.
- Being prudent with resources for the sake of our children and generations to come.
- Being accountable for our actions.
- Making our little corner of the system more equitable.
Hamel calls for a ‘moral renaissance’ and it can only start in discussion with others.
2. Innovation: All our past successes as a species are thanks to innovation. Think wheels, numbers, language and the Internet. Our current wealth status was unimaginable just a century ago and that is thanks to innovation. Our futures and that of our families depends on innovation in this information age, where new products, services and ideas are so easily copied and passed on. If your enterprise isn’t innovating constantly, all your strategic planning won’t provide you with a sustainable future. With the proper tools and a systematic approach to innovation your people can become extraordinary innovators. Innovation really is the ONLY sustainable strategy, and the question for us all is; how can I make it happen in my business?
3. Adaptability: Adapt or die out, is the cruel truism of the natural world and it’s also true in our business world. The information revolution is drastically shortening product life cycles. New ideas travel a hundred times round the globe while we sleep through the night. Is your business keeping pace with this commercial world around you? The pace of change for us all is exponential. Just consider the size and power of computers, the explosion of mobile phones, Internet coverage and speeds. The one thing you can say for sure in your strategic planning ‘offsite’ is that your business will soon be challenged to adapt to things with which you have no experience. Too many businesses fail because they spend their time looking inwards rather than outwards, and fearing the future rather than embracing it. Being adaptable is all about learning. The pace of today’s business world demands we learn early, cheaply and quickly.
4. Passion: Survey after survey of workforce attitudes, tell us that just 1 in 5 people are truly engaged in their work and willing to go that ‘extra mile’ in delighting the customer. While customers are crying out to have their requirements exceeded, 2 in 5 employees are almost completely disengaged from their jobs and the other 2 in 5 are killing time, waiting to be empowered. It is a total failure of management. So when you do your strategic planning, be sure to ask 3 things;
- Where are the opportunities for my people to grow, to learn and to advance? Because without these there will be no passion for work.
- Are my Vision and values something that my people can get onboard with? Top tip; if your vision includes ‘shareholder fund value’ or size relative to your competitors, it will rarely work for them. We are defined by the causes we follow and the things we believe in.
- Do my employees really trust me? Is there a gap between the things I say and the things I do? Passion is grounded in trust. Credibility is the most sought after leadership attribute.
5. Ideology: Modern management has developed into control, efficiency and disempowerment. We need to reinvent management for innovation and passion. At PBC we always recommend a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) in any strategic review. This is a fantastic tool, but under a new management ideology it needs to be put in the trained hands of every stakeholder in your enterprise. It is just one among many ways to grow involvement, build commitment, unleash creativity, communicate humanely, and build trust in your business. We at PBC would welcome the opportunity to facilitate your planning sessions and bring an objective questioning perspective as you come to terms with these vital issues.
Click below to get a copy of Gary Hamel’s book “What Matters Now.”
Click below for a 5-minute video of Gary Hamel summarizing his book, “What Matters Now.”
This originally appeared in my January 2013 Newsletter.