Samsung is testing Apple’s ability to respond post-Steve Jobs. It is a reminder that every strategy must adapt to change and that a company’s resiliency is not just a key to surviving in today’s world, but a significant competitive advantage. Creating a resilient organization is the responsibility of top management. It is not a personnel program. Like any other key business strategy it requires considerable focus, planning and commitment from the top to be successfully successful implemented.
How important is resiliency to your organization? What specific steps are you taking to make it key part of your business strategy and to ensure successful implementation?
Henry Ford said, “Why is it, that when I ask for a pair of hands, a brain comes attached?” Management tools developed in Ford’s day are still mostly what’s used today. They’re good at making people obedient and compliant, but they discourage innovation and creativity and do nothing to engender commitment and motivation. And in a world where intellectual capital – what’s in the heads of employees – is what drives value, that’s a major problem. If you want a higher return-on-people, you must learn at least a few of the new management approaches that encourage creativity and innovation while still holding people accountable for results.
Last week in Vietnam, 14 activists and bloggers were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison for attending courses in nonviolent resistance and use of the Internet. It’s not exactly the same thing, but I have seen company leaders and managers actively discourage, and even terminate, people with different opinions from their own. These are examples of driving disagreement underground. In the Internet age, those practices have a greater chance to backfire because the thoughts won’t likely remain covert – it will surely surface and perhaps in ways that are more damaging to the leader than working with other opinions in the first place.
Don’t assume that a team shares a common direction. Yes, they may agree that the strategy sounds good, but they’re not going to effectively implement it unless they’re actually on the same page. A focused team will be energetically drive growth initiatives and develop key people. Unfocused teams concentrate on business as usual, fire-fighting, second-guessing, extended analysis, detail obsession and other symptoms. Worst of all, they’ll say interaction is important, but will work in a way that inhibits communication and collaboration. The first step to correcting this is to identify it as a problem.