Sunday, 9 January 2011

Can process excellence be a barrier to competitiveness?

Last week, I suggested that we should all re-invest in Management. This thought was triggered by reading Dr Julian Birkinshaw's "Reinventing Management"; probably the best business book I read in 2010. It challenges our pre-occupation with Leadership.

My challenge to you, at the beginning of 2011, is not simple:

1. How much of our management process is designed to satisfy or exceed the expectations of ONLY our current customers and shareholders? Are our processes sufficiently flexible to consider ALL those who influence profitable outcomes - competitors, staff, suppliers, regulators and local communities, for example?

2. How can we ethically and legally take on international competition and be successful? Are all the cards now stacked against us - a high cost base, necessary regulation, a shift in international economic power and stringent financial conditions? Are we learning from experience or just bemoaning our bad luck? As an example, what can the English speaking world take from the recent World Cup bid failures from Australia, England and the USA?

3. What do we need to do differently in the leadership and management of our businesses, to succeed in an environment that we no longer control, but only influence?

I would welcome your thoughts on these challenges.

These days, as a Regional VP for Pyramid ODI, I facilitate leadership development and run OD projects for clients, but as the Managing Director of a satellite communications and systems integration company, I experienced the equal importance of effective management and leadership in practice.

Next time, I will share a real-life experience from my MD days, to explain why I believe passionately that management and leadership need to be in balance to generate sustained profit, particularly as we face tougher competitive challenges and decisions in 2011.

Best wishes to you, your business colleagues and families for a successful year ahead.


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