Tag Archives: Management

Strategy Is… Hmm…(Part 2)

A new study of 163 CEOs, senior strategists and communications professionals, conducted by Forbes Insights and FD in conjunction with the Association for Strategic Planning and the Council of Public Relations Firms,  looks at corporate strategy development and implementation. Of special interest was the interdependence of strategy and communications in creating and executing a successful strategy.

Their Nr.1 key finding?

…While senior management does not have a common definition of what strategy is at the conceptual level, it does have a very clear definition of what strategy is not, as well as a very clear, pragmatic definition of what types of corporate initiatives are and are not strategic…

In Strategy Is… Hmm…, we talked about Chris McCall’s three fundamental questions about strategy:

  • What business are we in?
  • What business should we be in?
  • How do we get there?

So, if senior management does not have a common definition of strategy, that means they are not on the same page in regards to the three questions above. Am I the only one who finds this extremely disturbing?

Luckily, I am not.  Mitch Ellner, CEO of CNC Strategy Cloud Solutions, talks about this in his post  Strategic Planning – the “Strategy” of all 3 Resources.  With three resources, he means people, processes/information and finances.

“Businesses need to begin to look at all 3 strategic resources – people, processes, finances – to measure and thus manage against, and with begin to look at this as a part of the business – ongoing, habit and consistent – not as a “project” that has a start and stop. Strategic Planning, strategy, alignment, execution, et al. has no start and stop. It does have change.”

4 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

Innovation Is… Hmm…

Innovation. It is the buzzword of the past few years, possibly the decade.  Everybody takes it seriously, everybody claims to know how to do it, yet only few companies around us can truly be characterized as an innovative company. Why is that?

Jorge Barba, Chief Strategist at Blu Maya, in Create Your Own Definition of Innovation, thinks that most companies do not have an internal consensus on what innovation means.  Nor is there a useful textbook definition that can universally be applied to any business.  It is the responsibility of the leadership to come up with a collective definition of what innovation means to the organization in general and each employee in particular. (Sounds familiar? Maybe you have read Strategy Is… Hmm…)

“It is very simple, if your company says that innovation is a strategic priority, but there are no “innovation breeding habits” on display, you will not innovate. Like many, you are just paying lip service to the word.

It is like strategy, if no one understands what the company’s strategy is, then all is lost.

For example, a company I visited recently told me that they would innovate by updating its website (my follow up question was “how exactly?” and no concrete answer was given). Tsk, tsk, tsk…If your company thinks that “updating its website” is innovative, good luck trying to do anything disruptive.

What this means, is that if your company’s employees hear that “we will continually delight our customers by updating our website”, they will be completely uninspired and confused because that statement can mean many things to different people.”

1 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

Change Is Never Easy

Earlier, in The “Odd New Thing”: Social Media, we touched upon how executives treat social media as the something they do not really understand but feel the need to be part of.  And in Social Media Teams we discussed changes brought to the organization structure and the inner workings of a corporation by social media.

What is true for social media in particular is also true for new technologies and digital in general:  New, innovative ways of doing business force companies to undergo drastic changes in organizational structure, uses of technology, measures of success and resource allocation.  More than merely the way of doing business, the business mentality itself is becoming more customer-centric, more adaptive and less tolerant to mistakes.

Based on my observations of executives in Turkey, especially those of traditional companies, most react to these changes in one of the two extremes: apathy or obsession.  Some consider these changes to be something to be managed in a vacuum, to be handled by others, either someone within the organization or by an external consultant.  They do not really want to be involved, and as long as there are no problems, and it does not crowd their space, it is all good.

Others get really excited about all this transformation and want to become a part of it.  They spend a lot of unnecessary time and energy at the expense of other areas, driving their teams and colleagues crazy. Even though they do not understand the underlying strategy or the methods all that well, they want to “do it” anyway, albeit in a manic manner.

Martin Gill, an eBusiness and Channel Strategy Analyst at Forrester Research, talks about similar difficulties faced by eBusiness managers in Shooting Arrows At Eagles:

“Some visionary companies Burberry, Marks and Spencer are lucky enough to have CEOs who grasp the power of digital. These companies are embedding digital into every aspect of their operations and are collapsing the walls between “eBusiness” and the traditional store or branch chains.

But most organizations aren’t so well positioned. Many eBusiness leaders have a vision for agile commerce that isn’t shared or even understood by their senior management and are now finding that their primary mission is to drive transformational change across their companies from within their area of accountability — selling the vision upwards, sideways, and downwards and positioning themselves as cross-functional leaders.

This takes vision, great communication skills, and the courage of their convictions much like our pacifist revolutionaries. Change driven not from the top, but from small seeds.”

Yorum bırakın

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

Social Media Teams

In a previous post titled The “Odd New Thing”: Social Media, we talked about “what not to do”, when managing social media for your organization or brand. In Data: The Composition of a Corporate Social Media Team, Jeremiah Owyang, industry analyst and partner at Altimeter, tells us “how to do” as he analyzes results from Altimeter’s recent survey to 144 global national corporations with over 1000 employees to see how today’s corporate social media teams break down. It turns out, the average size of a corporate social media team is ELEVEN people, excluding agencies, consultants and researchers.

Altimeter’s study discovered a trend of four key groups at corporations:

  1. Leadership Team: Focused on the overall program ROI, drive business results
  2. Business Unit Facing: Work inside the company to get executives and teams of other business units on board
  3. Market Facing: Serve as a go-between to balance the needs of customers and the corporation
  4. Program Management: Run programs at the corporate level, reporting and brand monitoring, manage developer teams to get systems to work

Owyang also makes predictions for the future of social media teams:

“In the future, these teams will likely shrink, or evolve into customer experience teams. Know that the corporate social strategist will work themselves out of a job.  Why?  Business units will be able to operate their own programs without excessive oversight, following program guidelines, and using pre-set best practices and sanctioned software systems.  With that said, a core team will always be required, to coordinate the enterprise, but we predict this will evolve into a customer experience team.”

1 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

The “Odd New Thing”: Social Media

I see many Turkish executives (although I have a hunch that they are not alone) treat social media as the “odd new thing” they do not really understand but feel the need to be part of.  We have been through this at least once before, when the Internet Revolution came to be.  Most executives were excited but they were also afraid, because they did not know how to go about incorporating the Internet into their business.  So most of them went out, grabbed a recent, tech-savvy college graduate, and if anyone asked they said they were taking care of the “internet minternet*” business of their organization.  Nowadays, history sort of repeats itself and we see a bunch of young people who have cool titles such as “Social Media Specialist” or “Social Media Strategist” showing up at local firms to take care of the “social media” business of the organization.

Same as the Internet, social media is part of a whole, not the “odd new thing” that can be spun off and managed independently.  Just as we cannot separate Internet from the various aspects of our business today, we cannot really think of social media independent of a coherent Marketing or Brand Strategy.  Sure, one cannot successfully manage a marketing function if one does not understand the tools, but without a high level vision and understanding of the overall communication strategy, a tool such as social media is not a tool, but a toy.

Hollis Thomases, in her controversial article 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media, lists reasons why the easy way to handle social media may not be the best way.

“Just because you don’t understand social media doesn’t mean you should forfeit all common sense and hire your niece, nephew, or any other recent college grad (say, your best friend’s sister-in-law’s kid) because “they’re really good on Facebook.”

* “Internet minternet” is a Turkish phrase which means “Internet, et cetera.”

2 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

Corporate Breakups

In Corporate Breakups: The Hot New Growth Strategy, Larry Popelka talks about how some large corporations are using corporate breakups to spur growth and innovation. Corporate breakups result in smaller firms, better focus and improved management capabilities.

“Perhaps the biggest problem with large companies today, though, is organizational inefficiency. Most companies describe their breakups as allowing them to “increase focus.” But what they really mean is it has simply become too darn hard to manage and grow big companies.”

Yorum bırakın

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH

Managing Remote Employees

Daniel McCarthy, director of Executive Development Programs at the University of New Hampshire, talks about managing employees in different locations in Managing Remote Employees: Lessons from Ancient Rome and Beyond. While doing so, he refers to In Search of Excellence, an international bestseller written by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. The following quote explains the Roman philosophy of choosing leaders.

“One reason the Roman empire grew so large and survived so long — a prodigious feat of management — is that there was no railway, airplane, car, radio, telephone. Above all, no telephone. And therefore you could not maintain any illusion of direct control over a general or provincial governor, you could not feel at the back of your mind that you could ring him up, or he could ring you, if a situation cropped up which was too much for him, or that you could fly over and sort things out if they started to get into a mess. You appointed him, you watched his chariot and baggage train disappear over the hill in a cloud of dust and that was that … There was, therefore, no question of appointing a man who was not fully trained, or not quite up to the job: you knew that everything depended on his being the best man for the job before he set off. And so you took great care in selecting him; but more than that you made sure that he knew all about Rome and Roman government and the Roman army before he went out.”

1 Yorum

Filed under Posts In ENGLISH