I was struck by the juxtaposition of two articles on the front cover of the Sept-Oct issue of Harvard Business Review. At the top of the cover is GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s article on leading transformation – by all accounts a daunting and messy business, often with mixed results. The feature article below it is about the “overcommitted organization.” It overwhelms the page.
When business models change, as they do in many industries, a lot must happen to reinvent the business. Without a clear, compelling and consistent strategic focus, leaders can overload the organization with unnecessary projects and burn out its “precious resources”— the key talent in the organization.
In my last blog I talked about how an amazing non-profit, called the Wonderfund, used contemporary business tools to completely reinvent itself. As a result, there were 3 key takeaways that I believe all non-profit organizations could benefit from knowing.
Perhaps one of the toughest jobs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is being a Child Welfare Social Worker for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Servicing over 50,000 children at any point during the year (a number which is sadly growing) this organization is responsible for looking after our state’s most vulnerable children.
In our first video in the S2E for the Entrepreneur series, we followed Jake from the initial strategy and vision, to building a competitive business model. You can watch this first video about Jake adopting S2E methods to compete head-on with the digital music world.
In a 1995 interview, Steve Jobs said at every stage of Apple whether he was in his garage or later at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, being successful required vision and execution. Not all of us have the innate abilities of a Steve Jobs and need some help. Not long ago, the tools of strategy and execution were only available in large companies or from consultants. That’s no longer true.
In business and everyday life, the forces of confidence and humility are in constant competition. I propose that the two can be complimentary forces. The right balance of humility and confidence is necessary for establishing yourself, achieving goals, and maximizing success. A shift in this balance leads to arrogance ─ a fault in human character, but a deathblow in business.
As any good business strategist, enterprise architect or C-Suite leader will acknowledge - there is a constant level of alertness and focus on failure and success factors, in other words, staying on top of the overall risk profile of the enterprise. We know that some companies do this better than others. The famous 2014 study that showed that 88% of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 are either gone or no longer in the list is a good data point. Even though the precision and accuracy of that study has some issues, the overall conclusion is still valid – which is that enterprises must constantly identify and react to threats and opportunities. (Examples of issues with the study are; the criteria for entering the Fortune 500 has changed over time, and the study did not take into account different types of ownership).