Surviving Change by Remaining Focused

At a time when the cost of doing business has taken a harder hit than almost any other time in recent history, one of the greatest challenges faced by most — if not all — CEOs is the ability to remain focused and true to the vision of an organization while surviving financial stress long enough to be able to continue building on that vision.

While the temptation to change course is often strong in times of upheaval — whether strategic direction, product line, target customer segment or otherwise — it is often a recipe for disaster. Management standards are more critical than ever when the unexpected hits. The ability to eliminate emotion in order to keep decision making fact-based, as opposed to haphazard and inconsistent, can be the difference between a company that perishes and one that survives. An appropriate standard enables decision makers to detect and adapt to changing market conditions, allowing them to be proactive.

The reality is enterprises (all things for that matter) operate in a state of constant change. The needs of existing customers, the opportunity for new customers, shifting and globalizing markets, new technologies, new suppliers and supply chains, ever evolving competitors — all of these require an organization that has no doubt as to its mission but, and this is important, does not cling to any one way of achieving it.

While most enterprises understand the need to establish processes for building products and delivering finished goods to market in the most expeditious and efficient means possible, many fail to create standardized decision-making processes.

Without business standards and repeatable management practices, enterprises are condemned to reinvent the wheel each time they must assess strategic opportunities or encounter a new challenge to their operations. The process is similar to the progression from commodity to brand: settle on one way to do what is known and reliable and, then, devote your mental energy to what is new and not yet known. This is where the real action and payoff lie.

Today’s enterprises need tools to make sense of the technology, to rationalize investment decisions so that they are centered in operational excellence. They need to know when spending money makes sense and when it doesn’t. They need to trust that when they pay huge sums for technology it will actually work as intended.

Some people may think that management processes squelch innovation and creativity. Much to the contrary, sustainable management processes open the lines of communication that empower people to share their new ideas with key decision makers within an organization faster. These processes are not the fuel of business, but the regulated engine that ensures business burns its fuel efficiently.

Faisal Hoque is the founder and CEO of BTM Corporation. A former senior executive at GE and other multi-nationals, Faisal is an internationally known entrepreneur and thought leader. He has written five management books, established a non-profit research think tank, The BTM Institute, and become a leading authority on the issue of effective interaction between business and technology. His next book, The Power of Convergence, will be available in May 2011.