Human beings are driven by the idea that with success comes happiness. The harder we work, the more successful we’ll be, which will ultimately make us happier. We subscribe to this in business too, believing that with hard work comes reward – whether in title, promotion, profitability or financial incentives. If only we could achieve that raise, that promotion, or get that award or new job, we would be happier. Turns out we have the equation backwards.
Outsourcing is like a marriage. At the beginning, the relationship promises so much potential. But without good communication and mutual respect, it often struggles and can even fail. In the early 1990s, outsourcing was going to keep America competitive. But the honeymoon quickly ended. Outsourced labor costs, once thought to be a 15 to 20 percent advantage in emerging markets, started to rise, often at rates higher than in the U.S. Distance and cultural barriers inhibited process improvements, and the quality of customer interactions and service failed to live up to established standards. No surprise, problems resulted from the actions of both partners in the relationship.
Growing your business used to be simple. Gather data, analyze it, select a market and develop your strategy, then reap the returns. To say now it’s not that straightforward is stating the obvious.
The tactics to entering a new market need to evolve, asserts Luiz Zorzella, consultant to HighPoint Associates, seasoned expert on new markets and growth, and author of Revenue Growth: Four Proven Strategies. He proposes a fresh approach to new market entry that is more agile and dynamic in nature, and encourages flexibility, adaptability and speed.
Big data. It’s THE game changer your company has been looking for. It can drive dramatic cost reductions and productivity improvements, help you discover the next best product and transform your marketing strategy.
After all, big data helped UPS review routes and save $30 million every time it reduced one daily mile driven per driver. Companies are even using big data to run behavioral tests and provide insight on the best person to hire for a job.
So why aren’t you using it?
Every good strategic leader works hard to design a business strategy that creatively serves the needs of customers in the face of tough competitors and delivers enterprise value. Business school core courses have been shaped and consulting firms created to help executives responsible for strategy analyze and synthesize their way to this straightforward goal.
But there is a quite different approach to strategy that many companies and businesses might be wise to think about.
Mention strategy development and most CEOs grit their teeth, imagining months of analysis led by corps of consultants, often with significant cost and a result that doesn’t match where the company and its senior team really sees itself going.
Sadly, many CEOs don’t have a lot of confidence in their strategy. According to a 2013 Booz & Company survey of more than 3,500 global leaders, over half doubt their company’s strategy will lead to success or think their strategy is understood by employees and customers. Even more alarming, only a third feel that their company’s core capabilities fully support their strategy.
A wave of changing technologies continues to bombard companies at an accelerating rate. Emerging and expanding technologies such as the cloud, big data, business analytics and intelligence, and HTML5, all will have enormous implications for how companies deploy, use and manage information.
How well companies surf the wave will have a significant impact on their future success.
It’s not enough to be the best at your business anymore. No matter how great your product or esteemed your expertise, to earn business today your customers want to feel that you are a “Trusted Advisor.”
In his more than 45 years of consulting and executive management, Jim Bennett, a Senior Advisor to HighPoint Associates, has seen a significant shift in client and customer mindsets. “Clients want to know that you and your company’s interests are deeply aligned with theirs and that you are highly motivated by their success. They want to know they can count on you to listen to their issues and not just rush to offer a solution.”
Getting good help represents a Board-level headache. Reading the financial press, it may seem that CXOs come and go with the frequency of jetliners at O’Hare International. While executive churn does not merit that comparison, C-suite turnover is commonplace, with a new wave of executive musical chairs ensuing after the 2008 recession.
Many reasons can lead to job vacancies. Someone gets a better position. Someone gets caught with his or her hands in the wrong places. Someone decides to found his or her own company. Someone was hired to do one job, but the company’s needs changed. Someone goes to sleep – or worse – on the job. As a result, boards and private equity owners may find themselves scrambling to fill key management positions.