From crisis to sustenance It’s not just how you ran, but whether you finally won the marathon!

3 March 2013 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

Last week, we ended the first part of our series ‘From crisis to sustenance’. We spoke about seven new ways to tackle the tough decisions in today’s high pressure business environment and deliver the results your company needs for sustained growth.
Most of the modern high-profiled companies follow these principles to meet the increasing demands (especially in times of crisis) to do more, deliver more and increase more – while keeping stress low and morale high.

In the last seven instalments we learnt, in capsule form, proven techniques for;
01. Using clear and frequent communication to align those who execute strategies with those who create them,
02. Prioritizing the results, identify actions needed to achieve them and building consensus on what it will take to get the job done,
03. Making the tough decisions in a timely and constructive manner,
04. Changing direction at a moment’s notice in order to keep pace with changing customer and company needs,
05. Becoming an indispensable asset by aligning more closely with company values,
06. Fostering teamwork, total information sharing and learning culture,
07. Rewarding good work and giving people everything they need to do their best.
The seven ways were adapted for this series based on an original concept of Chuck Martin, New York Times Business Best Selling author.
Today, I would like to add a few more guidelines for making business decisions during difficult economic times.
  • Consider your business model
Don’t lose sight of your business plan during tough times. Think about how the decisions will fit into the overall business model you have created, regardless of the economic indicators. Consider how you can make the decision cost less or conserve more resource, while continuing to provide a high-quality product or service.
  • Consider your customer base
Before making a decision, consider your customer base and the circumstances they are in. If you wish to introduce a new product, for example, think about whether your customers, will be interested in buying the product. Ultimately, your customers are the driving force behind your business and you should be sensitive to their economic troubles and consider how each business decision you make can best serve them during the crisis.
  • Act quickly, but not reflexively and plan contingencies
Acute anxiety tends to provoke one of the two responses - thoughtless activity or deer-in-the-headlights paralysis. Both are understandable but neither is helpful. The challenge is to be both fore-thoughtful about the decisions you will need to make and fearless and daring in implementing them at the appropriate time. This means taking immediate action: To manage costs aggressively, to do away with nice-to-haves (both because they are easily expendable and because of the signal it sends to the whole organisation) and to delay undertaking new initiatives.
It also entails developing explicit contingency plans, even if your organisation is not yet feeling any pain. Waiting to get specific until the wolf really is at the door will not make the choices any easier, but it will sharply increase the likelihood that the available options will be fewer and more draconian.
  • Protect the core
The bad news is that financial constraints may mean you cannot pursue all of your current activities. The good—or at least the less bad—news is that not all of them are equally essential in terms of impact. Now is the time to allocate your hard-earned rupees and cents and best staff to the activities that make the greatest difference in your ability to achieve and sustain results: The programmes and services that have the greatest impact on those you serve and the organisational infrastructure required to support them. It is also the time to consider whether you need to cut back or discontinue less critical activities—and to ask yourself, “If not now, when?”  
Three critical questions can help to create clarity: “What results are we trying to achieve and for whom?” “How do we achieve them?” and “What does that really cost?” Until everyone has agreed on the answers to these questions, it will be hard to develop a real consensus around which programmes and activities are truly core and which ones, however reluctantly, can be let go.
  • Identify the people who matter most and keep that group strong
It’s often said that in good times you need good people and in tough times you need ‘great’ people. Every organisation has a small group of people who are critical to its success—current and future. If you were to name your strongest performers, who would they be? These are the people who should be receiving the lion’s share of your attention, so that they can feel like allies and partners in keeping the organisation focused on its mission and pulling through.
  • Stay very close to your key funders
The banks and other financial lending organisations that know you best are the ones that are most likely to help you navigate this downturn. Remember that you don’t have to wait for your key funders to call you. You can—and should—use this as an opportunity to pick up the phone and call them: To let them know what you’re seeing and how you plan to respond, to explain the choices you’re making or expect to make, to ask whether they can be equally transparent with you about what they expect their payouts or donations to be over the next six to 18 months.
Downturns are usually a time to be cautious about trying to establish new funding relationships. But a referral from a trusted source might induce others to co-invest, at a time when they wouldn’t willingly do so on their own.
  • Shape up your organisation
Running the kind of organisational marathon that a downturn triggers requires planning, focus, commitment and stamina. The necessity for belt-tightening can facilitate hard-to-contemplate changes that could make your operations more efficient and your impact greater. Should you merge positions or programmes, for example? Could you out-source a provider to lower back-office costs, create economies of scale, or leverage best practices across operations?
Similarly, tough times can be the catalyst for taking advantage of low-cost opportunities to improve internal operations and make it easier for people to work smarter—and not just longer and harder. Clarifying and refining essential work processes will allow everyone to take advantage of best practices and avoid reinventing the wheel.

Bringing outsider
Finally, it may be the time to think strategically about bringing someone with different skills, or skills you previously might not have been able to access, onto your leadership team. General Manager and Finance Manager are examples. In the face of huge demand for the best-and-brightest management talent, organisations have typically had great difficulty filling these positions. The challenge is to be conscientious about your due diligence, so that if you do make an offer, you’re sure it’s to the right person.

As the second step of this series, in the coming weeks, we will be studying a few ideas from the international Best Seller ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. According to the authors, it is about “how to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant.” Instead of dividing up existing and often shrinking, demand and breaking away from the competition, Blue Ocean strategy is about growing demand and breaking away from the competition.
I invite the business executives who followed us throughout the series to stay with us and learn how each one of you can be a driver of this expansion in the future.  
Remember, whether you like it or not, you’ve probably been assigned a number for running this particular marathon. How smart you run it will make all the difference to whether and in what shape, you will be able to cross the finish line.
(The writer, a corporate director with over 25 years’ senior managerial experience, can be contacted at lionwije@live.com)
See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

  Comments - 0

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 

Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




Army’s LRRP Ambush of LTTE’s Military Intelligence Chief

A news report in the Dailymirror last August stated that the Long Range Recon

“I don’t think Sri Lankans can be realistically ruled by force” -Ahimsa Wickrematunge

Twelve years after the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the founding

Decisions to be made in Sri Lanka’s hunt for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Around the world, governments are gearing up to roll out nationwide immunizat

“I am the Godfather of Russian tourists” - Udayanga Weeratunga

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga is back in the sce

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 


MIRROR CRICKET