Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Riskiest Move of All
I love this column over at Fast Company by Josh Linkner. He titled it "The Riskiest Move of All." What's that, you ask? Doing nothing at all. It's a simple concept, but it cannot be emphasized enough. Standing still in a dynamic world can be very dangerous for any business. Wait, though... Does taking Linkner's advice mean companies should constantly be tinkering with their strategy? Wouldn't that lead to inconsistency, lack of focus, and an inability to engage in disciplined execution? Here's the way I would approach this issue. Good companies don't stand still, but it does NOT mean changing strategy on a whim. Being active means constantly scanning your external environment, staying abreast of competitors' moves, examining social and technological trends regularly, interacting with customers continuously, and striving constantly to improve internal processes. Being active means asking the "What if?" questions and amplifying potential threats for the purposes of keeping your people vigilant. Being active means playing out scenarios for the future in which major disruptions might occur. An active and vigilant management approach doesn't mean constantly changing direction and purpose, but it does mean being ready, willing, and able to shift direction if necessary.