I'm focusing on specific strategies you could implement to help you and your company get through the current economic setbacks.
The following is a seven point plan that works as long as you work each point in the plan.
They are proven strategies to SERIOUSLY consider and they all have to do with better thinking, effective planning, and relentless execution.
Yes retreat-I can hear you asking "are you for real?" Absolutely!
It's impossible to come up with innovative solutions when you're charging around putting out the latest fire.
It doesn't have to involve going to a resort for a few days. Save that for the party to celebrate your survival.
If you can't take a step back and free up a few hours to focus on strategic issues, it's a huge red flag that you can't afford to ignore.
If you're indeed in a downward cycle, face the fact that your current plan and strategies are not working. It's delusional to think that you can survive and prosper without making changes in strategy, marketing, innovation, and execution.
2. ACCEPT REALITY
Accept the reality of your situation AS IT IS, not as it was or as you wish it to be.
Once reality is accepted, then you must act decisively. Most mistakes and self-engineered fiascos that people and companies create, regardless of position arise from not being willing to face the true reality of a situation and then acting on it.
You have no choice but to see the world in the purest, most transparent way possible, or you can't make decisions on a rational basis. You must embrace this profound virtue, as you simply cannot make legitimate progress by evading facts. Accept the true facts of reality as an absolute.
Accepting reality sounds simple - but it isn't. It requires that you remove filters that screen out the things that you might not want to see, acknowledge shortcomings and accept the need for change. Also, acting with truth often means saying and doing things that are not popular, but ONLY by coming to grips with reality will performance improve.
3. CREATE MORE VALUE
When times are uncertain, you should place a premium on the creation and delivery of greater value.
What people want at all times is value creation - that is, solutions that help them eliminate their uncertainties, capture their opportunities, and reinforce their strengths. When you focus on providing these three solutions, then growth, progress and achievement should follow.
Be compulsive about delivering outstanding customer service. Happy, satisfied customers are your meal ticket to economic security and ultimate survival. When times are tough, you can't afford to lose even one customer to the competition. Don't overlook the importance of value creation!
4. SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING
Simplicity is one of the critical strategies for surviving downtimes. It creates a sense of relief and freedom in this increasingly complex world.
Simplicity is an art form, with many definitions: To an engineer, it's clean, functional design with fewer parts. For manufacturing it means judging a process not by how sophisticated it is, but how understandable it is to those who must make it work. In marketing it means clear messages and clean proposals to consumers and industrial customers. And, most importantly, on an individual, interpersonal level it takes the form of plain-speaking, directness - honesty.
It was Colin Powell who said, "Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand. The result? Clarity of purpose, credibility of leadership, and integrity of organization."
5. VIEW PROBLEMS AS OPPORTUNITIES
You should stop focusing on the problem(s) and embrace the solution(s). Your best option is to change your focus and view every problem in your life and business as an opportunity for growth, learning, maturity and the only road to recovery.
Change is a big part of the reality of life. Your willingness to view problems as opportunities is a competitive strength, and if you wish to survive and prosper in these turbulent times, you should learn to look on change as a friend.
One of the keys to dealing with change is understanding that change is never over. Change brings opportunity to those who can grasp it, and the discontinuities of the current business climate offer unlimited opportunities.
6. BE OPTIMISTIC
Expect to win and maintain the thought that you will come through these rough times stronger, wiser and more prosperous.
Optimism and pessimism affect your entire worldview. Your whole approach to living is either empowered or neutralised depending on which style of thinking predominates.
An optimistic outlook creates conditions for success by focusing and acting on possibilities and opportunities. Optimism is the attitude of champions, the fuel of hope, the enemy of despair, and the creator of the future.
Developing and strengthening this dynamic life skill is one of the most effective ways of adding to your personal power.
No matter how realistic and rational you may be, you have no choice but to focus your attention and attitude. Optimists choose to focus primarily on thoughts, events, and interpretations that induce joy, encouragement, pleasure, and constructive activity.
7. LIVE SPEED AND EXECUTION
The effective use of speed is critical and clearly a competitive weapon. Move fast, or become history as everything you do increases your competitive position or moves you one step closer to being competitive "toast".
Confronted with a constantly shifting array of customers, competitors, strategic alliances, technology and market volatility, the only hope for increased productivity lies in developing the ability to move and change at least as rapidly as your competitive environment.
Customers, supply chains and associates within a company want things faster, easier, smoother. And once they have experienced the combination of quality and speed, they ask themselves, "Why should I tolerate an inferior experience of slowness?"
The company or individual that does not embrace the importance of speed will be hammered. In fact, as a strategic weapon, speed is the equivalent of money, productivity, quality, even innovation.
A FINAL THOUGHT
While constructing your game plan, following one or two of these seven steps, while challenging enough by itself, is unlikely to be enough.
Realizing three or four will be a bare minimum. You WILL need to develop the ability to fight simultaneous strategic battles on multiple fronts and to excel in all of them.
Those who can't or won't achieve that level of mastery are unlikely to be overly troubled; its highly improbable that they'll even be around.
And one final point-an 8th step-may very well be the most important of all:
Develop a solid plan of action with key measurements and strict deadlines. Remember that life nor business will go according to plan if you do not have a plan.
Use the Planning program to get yourself in the best possible position for success and save big in the process.
This may prove to be your most important decision!
Leon Kaplan, The GoalsGuy Africa www.goalsguy.co.za
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Business Systems NOT delivering?
Call the Business Systems Specialist
Dr James A Robertson -- has been involved in the effective application of Business Information Systems, including but NOT limited to ERP, since 1987 and in the profitable and effective use of computers in Business since 1981.
Drawing on a diversity of experience, including formal military training in Quick Attack techniques at the Regimental Commander level, Dr Robertson has developed highly effective methods of investigating any sub-optimal Business Information Systems situation -- be it an established system or a stalled project or any other source of Executive frustration -- quickly and concisely diagnosing the root cause of the problem and prescribing concise practical actions that Business Executives can effectively act on see the Pulse Measurement page and also the Sample Reports page for redacted real reports.
He has also developed highly effective methods of strategically enriching systems to unlock the full potential of existing investments, see the Precision Configuration page and couples this to architecting small pieces of clever software that harness the full potential of your investment, see the Software page.
If you are having problems with your systems, your project or your IT Department, call The Business Systems Specialist
Business System Failure is RIFE -- we offer insight into why this happens AND WHAT is required to prevent it.
Failure is at epidemic levels with massive damage done to client companies -- if you are NOT aware of the extent of the problem please visit the About Failure page for a catalog of major failures running to billions of Pounds and Dollars.
All evidence indicates that the established players do NOT know how to deliver stable, reliable high value solutions that WORK.
There HAS to be a better way!
This website provides information relating to that way with a large collection of white papers, presentations, standards documents, etc that you can use to start bringing the situation under control
We also offer high level advisory services with regard to the application of the principles advocated on this website
We offer an ENGINEERING APPROACH to addressing these issues
By Engineering I mean the formal, structured, highly disciplined, highly systematic, highly practical approach that consistently delivers results in ALL areas of human endeavor where formally trained and certified engineers are the ONLY practitioners permitted to operate -- think large buildings, factories, motor vehicles, aircraft -- highly complex systems that work at a level that we take it for granted that they WILL work and where failure is all but unthinkable and, when it happens, attracts immediate public attention and rigorous investigation directed at ensuring that such failures are prevented in the future -- in fact, everything that the management consulting industry that implements complex software systems is NOT
This approach is discussed further on the Engineering Approach page.
In 2003 I undertook an in-depth analysis of all the information and experience that I had gathered with regard to the factors giving rise to Business Information System failure including ERP and general IT and classified this information into a number of categories including "The Factors Causing Failure" and "The Critical Factors for Success" based on this I developed a two day Course "The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success" which is still offered today.
Based on this I wrote the book of the same name, which is available in electronic form here for download:
James has a very detailed profile on LinkedIn should you require further information about him.
You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/DrJamesARobertsonERPDoctor
James has an open networking profile -- click on "Connect" and use email address James@LinkedIn-at-JARA.com.
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There is a large body of white papers, articles and other content produced by Dr James Robertson available on this website
Please click here to visit the detailed listing of articles
About Dr James A Robertson PrEng -- The Business Systems Doctor -- and Other Topics
Catalogue of Major Business Information System Failures
About the Engineering Approach
James Robertson's Value Add
Attributes of a HIGH VALUE solution
Recognizing Business System Failure
The Critical Human Foundation
Old Software IS Viable
From South Africa
Competencies of Dr James A Robertson PrEng
About Professor Malcolm McDonald
Table of Contents
About my relationship with the Almighty Creator, Yah the Eternally Self-Existing
Comments relating to the Business Systems Industry and other topics
Testimonials and other positive material regarding James Robertson
List of Articles
Achieving High Value Business Information System outcomes
Executive Custody -- What is it and HOW do you get it?
The REAL Issues in Integrated Business Information System Success
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2 -- Mythology and Lack of Executive Custody
Part 3 – Strategic Alignment and Precision Configuration
Why your ERP is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it
IT Project Management
CEO Anthony Lee Comments on his experience of the Pulse Measurement
No Charge Guarantee on the Pulse Measurement Service
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes
Critical questions regarding the Pulse Measurement™
The Pulse Measurement Workflow
The Critical Factors for Business System (ERP+) Investment Success in the Pulse Measurement
Indicative Pulse Measurement Durations
What is a JAR&A Pulse Measurement?
Survival of the fittest – why it makes sense to measure the pulse of your business
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes over 24 years
Sample Pulse Measurement Reports
Strategic Essence: The Missing Link in Business Information Systems
Strategic Essence: Overview
Strategic Essence: Part 1 -- Strategy Defined
Strategic Essence: Part 2 -- Differentiation
Strategic Essence: Part 3 -- The Essence IS Different
Strategic Essence: Part 4 -- The Essence should be the Point of Departure
Strategic Essence: Part 5 -- Discovering Strategic Essence
Strategy -- the Essence of the Business: What is it and how do you develop actionable strategic plans?
Simple Steps to Increase the Strategic Value of your ERP Investment
Free Strategic Snapshot Toolset and Manual
A strategy focused planning system beyond traditional budgeting
Tough IT and ERP Procurement and Contracting that Works
Robust Business Systems Procurement
Part 1 -- Introduction
Part 2 -- Bill of Services, Laboratory, Go-live Certificate, etc
Part 3 -- Executive Engagement, Bid Compliance, Adjudication and other matters
Guidance and Advisory Services
The Art of Project Leadership
Why Regular Communication with the CEO is Vital
The Business Simulation Laboratory
Precision Configuration and Strategic Business Information Architecture
Precision Configuration based on Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies
The JAR&A Cubic Business Model
Highly Structured Strategic Chart of Accounts -- a Vital Element of your Corporate Information Arsenal
The Product Catalogue -- an Essential Element of any Precision Configuration
Attributes -- answers to the questions you have NOT yet thought to ask
Case Studies of Notably Successful Projects with high value Precision Configuration
092 Doing things differently and better -- ASCO Case Study 2-- BPM Summit 2013
088 Strategic ERP Invesment -- ASCO Case Study -- Service Management Conference and Exhibition Africa
026 Information Architecture and Design of FIS for Rennies Group -- Financial Information Systems Conf
018 CRM Risk Control: Designing and Implementing an Integrated Risk Mgmt Sys -- Integrated Risk Mgmt Conf
011 V3 Consulting Eng: Benefits of MIS to Professional Practice -- SAICE 15th Ann Conf on Computers in Civil Eng
Strategically Enriching your Business Information Systems
Part 2 -- Principles of Data Engineering
Part 3 -- Steps in applying these recommendations
Simple Steps to increase the strategic information value yield from your Business Systems Investment
The Full JAR&A Taxonomy Manual
Part 1: Introduction, Problem Statement, Definitions and Examples
Part 2: Why Use JAR&A, Required Knowledge and Experience, Cubic Business Model and Chart of Accounts and Taxonomy Software
Part 3: How to do it, Case Studies and White Papers and other References
Example General Ledger Manual
Business Process -- Irrelevant, Distracting and Dangerous
The RIGHT Approach
Custom Strategic Software Design and Oversight of Construction
Standards for Custom Software Specification
What IS Software?
Critical Factors for I.T. Success
A Moral and Ethical Dilemma -- Systems that Fail
Case Studies examining Business Information System failures
The BBC Digital Media Initiative Debacle
The Bridgestone -- IBM Conflict
Speaking and Training
Showcase of Conference Presentations
Most Viewed Presentations
Briefings and Seminars
Why your ERP/BIS is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it
ERP and IT Procurement that Delivers Results
The Critical Factors for IT and ERP Investment Success
Conferences and Public Presentations
Conferences 80 to 99 -- 2009 to Present
Conferences 60 to 79 -- 2005 to 2009
Conferences 40 to 59 -- 1996 to 2005
Conferences 20 to 39 -- 1994 to 1996
Conferences 01 to 19 -- 1989 to 1994
On-Line Seminars (Webinars)
Webinar on Preparing and Presenting Webinars
Contacting James A Robertson and Associates Limited