Posts Tagged ‘adaptatng’

Fool's Gold

During the gold rush of the 1800’s many prospectors, in their relentless hunt for gold, discovered a mineral know as pyrite (fool’s gold), which looked like gold. The mistake, especially for naive prospectors, was only discovered after mining and transporting all of the mineral they could carry to a local surveyor. In simple terms, they were obsessed in finding their fortune. So anything that looked like what they were looking for quickly, to them, became a reality. The mineral even became a method for tricking unsuspecting prospectors into buying a gold mine that had been “salted” with fool’s gold to give the appearance of a gold mine.

In the business world today, we prospectors, in many cases, are still mining fool’s gold. We go after appearance versus substance. Why, because we see what we want to see. Somewhere along the way when I was just starting out in business I remember an old sage saying ‘nothing is as it appears to be.’ I didn’t understand it at the time, but the concept has never left me. Today, all you have to do is search the internet for something and start going through your hits. Wow, almost every hit promising to meet your need. Slick images, testimonials, reviews, offerings, promotions, guarantees, etc., etc., etc. All you have to do now is pack it up and take it to the surveyor. Unfortunately, in a noticeable number of cases, you discover you have mined fool’s gold.

In many of my blogs I talk about decision-making and how important it is to have a process. When you are obsessed in doing something, regardless if it is in response to an opportunity or a threat, you have to be aware that mines salted with fool’s gold are all around you. Venturing into one of these will consume valuable resources (time, people, and money) and, at the very least, delay you in accomplishing your objective.

Of the three components in effective decision-making, knowledge, especially in today’s world of complex imaging, becomes critical. The more knowledge you can develop before you begin your mining, the better chance you will have in discovering gold. The more you get in the habit of developing knowledge as a part of how you make decisions the more efficient you will become in managing your resources for making decisions. Remember, from your perspective, substance is based on knowledge. Appearance is not.

I’m not saying that everyone can make the ultimate decision if they just build more knowledge. I’m saying that if you can develop a decision-making process that always incorporates a knowledge component; you will make fewer trips to the surveyor with fool’s gold. – It boils down to my favorite quote; “tell me the process you used to make the decision.” Appearance versus substance.


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Future, Past & Present crossword

When you talk to a business owner about business plans, strategies or strategic planning you very quickly get into a discussion about expected changes in their business environment.  What is going to happen in the next 3-5 years?  How can I position my company to take advantage of those changes?  Where are my markets going?

It is good to see business owners focusing on the future.  No one wants to get left behind.  Adapt or die.  Game on!  In the end, however, it is about the allocation of resources; i.e., making decisions about time, people and money.  Placing bets on the future, focusing on the changes expected to take place in the marketplace.

What is really interesting is that very seldom does the business owner identify what is not expected to change in the next 3-5 years, which is a critical component of strategic thinking.  A business owner must identify and discuss these issues because they are also part of the resource allocation decision.  This is the component of your strategic equation that is constant in your projections.  You can bet on it; it is going to happen.

You will find that when you bring what is ‘not changing’ into the discussion of future plans or strategies, the strategies not only become more robust they are more focused, which means resource allocations are more efficient.

What is not expected to change in your future?

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Reality Concept

”Nothing is more disruptive to the current state than a change in reality.”

George T. James

At what point in an organization is imminent danger of disruption, destabilization, collapse, etc. expected? – When denial loses its foothold and reality springs up and exposes its unsettling message.

To some, organizations are like organisms; living creatures. To others, they are like the physical universe; held together by known and unknown forces. Both portray an environment where ‘things just happen.’ In each case, you live within the context of a perspective that enables you to explain away, or deny, the reality of what you are experiencing. It’s not a cold, it is my sinuses. My competitor must be getting cheap components from China to be able to price at that level. Their products will never last. – Denial. Back to work!

I once read a quote that said, “If you don’t know its texture or complexity, you haven’t grasped reality.” Perspectives, without substance, are not reality. I need to watch this cold thing. Do I have a fever? Should I see my doctor? Or, how can my competitor price at that level? I need to find out more details and develop strategies to take advantage of the situation. Yes, I said advantage; reality provides opportunities if recognized in the early stages.

Unfortunately, unannounced reality is, at the very least, expensive to address. How long have you been coughing like this? A little over a week. You have pneumonia! – Two weeks lost. Or, the longshoremen are threatening to strike on the west coast where a lot of our products are delivered from Asia. Should we ramp up production in our local plant? No, they have too many businesses dependent upon the flow of goods to potentially destabilize the economy. How many ships are backed up? Hundreds; it could take several months to get our products off-loaded. – True stories.

On the positive side, a new reality is great if you are prepared to take advantage of it. Otherwise you are going to spend a lot of unplanned resources just to get into the game; or it may already be too late.

Are you denying a reality?

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Wake-up Call

In spite of all of the challenges the 2008-09 Recession has caused businesses, it has been a wake-up call for many – a call to action, a call for change, a call for survival, and, unfortunately for some, a call to bunker down.

A quote I developed years ago to help explain simulation modeling is “Nothing is more disruptive to the current state than a change in reality.” Fortunately, for me, I recognized this at a young age, and have been able to witness first-hand both the impact of a change in reality and the resulting actions by those impacted. Interestingly, no matter what the change, most businesses react in a predictable manner.

Businesses that have been successful in getting through this quagmire have changed, or are changing, their organizations to be able to continuously adapt to a changing environment. They are now playing on the fringe of change; no more settling down in the comfort zone. Ask any of these businesses and they will tell you that this journey has not been easy; in fact, they often thought that they would not make it. The interesting thing is that the changes do not have to be earth-shattering. They are subtle, they are calculated, and they are pursued with vigor. In fact, they are not recognizable to the outside, which in itself is a strategic advantage. They are often told, ‘you have been lucky.’ Luck may have saved some, but luck isn’t something they can use as a foundation for future change.

Some say that history repeats itself, and many businesses will probably wander back to the comfort zone as the economy improves. I’m not sure about this. Why? I am watching the impact this recession has had on young people; many of whom are facing an uncertain future. I talk to college graduates who are trying to build their careers in this difficult time, while others are working as part time servers in restaurants, working two jobs to make ends meet, living at home at age 24, and beginning to rethink their reality. High school graduates are simply in a survival mode, some choosing to serve our Country in the military as the only option to make money. I also talk to second generation family business members who are realizing the business they grew up in is not the same carousel they saw as children. I don’t think this generation will wander to a comfort zone anytime soon. It reminds me of the impact the Great Recession had on my grandparents. The current generation of young workers is not waiting for things to get back to normal. They know that this is the new normal; their wake-up call. Good for them; good for business.

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