By Hank Moore/Corporate Strategist
The biggest problem with business, in a one-sentence capsule, is:
People exhibit misplaced priorities and impatience…seeking profit and power, possessing unrealistic views of purpose, and not fully willing to do the things necessary to sustain orderly growth and long-term success.
What organizations and individuals started out to become and what we’ve evolved into being are decidedly different things. The path toward progress takes many turns, expected and unexpected. How we evolve reflects the teachings, experiences and instincts that are not part of formal education.
Pressures continue and accelerate for companies to stay in operation, become competitive, keep ahead of the marketplace and perform quality work. Businesses of all sizes are besieged with opportunities, competing information sources and large amounts of uncertainty.
Executives are not fully prepared to handle challenges of the moment, much less to begin developing Big Picture thinking. Seasoned executives face burnout daily. Much of the workforce is in transition, with unclear anchoring of where they’ve been and where they could head. Young and mid-level workers do not really know what it takes to succeed long-term and are, for the most part, impaired from optimum achievement.
Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function. The same analogies apply to personal lives. Greater business awareness and heightened self-awareness are compatible and part of a holistic journey of growth.
The term Big Picture is often used but rarely applied correctly. If one believes vendors and niche consultants, the Big Picture is what their specialty is. It may be: human resources, organizational development, training, technology, sales, marketing, advertising, public relations, coaching or financial management. Few of those have actually written Strategic Plans and do not really comprehend what the Visioning process actually is.
Thus, few in business know how to frame, craft and sustain a Big Picture of business. There are reasons:
- Niche consultants say that their niche is The Big Picture, and the uninformed accept that.
- Vested interests have a stake in keeping certain niche consultants in the driver’s seat.
- Business school education is limited and behind the times.
- Fear of change forces people to go to extreme lengths to defend their turf.
- Spin doctors mine the fear and represent the vested interests of niche service providers.
- People in business are so overwhelmed that they do not know any better.
- A great many people set up barriers to learning anything more than is what is on their radar.
Businesses usually stop growing because they have failed to make investments for future company success. Rather than plan to grow and follow the plan, they rationalize organizational setbacks, excuse poor service or quality, and avoid change, all the while denying the need for change and avoiding any planning. Too often, they rely upon what worked for them in the past, on buzzwords, and on incomplete strategies. We’ve all seen businesses in which a paralysis creeps in, keeping them from doing anything at all.
A growth plan or strategic plan is essential for any organization that intends to survive and thrive in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Companies need to heed messages from the marketplace telling them of changing market conditions, new global business imperatives, new partnering concepts, recognition of new stakeholders, and other changes outside of their influence that may profoundly affect them.