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Where Does the Customer's CEO Sit?

Mar 15, 2008
Many companies ignore or underestimate important irresistible forces, treating them as if they are gentle breezes rather than raging hurricanes that can tear the organization apart. A good way to overcome this sort of misunderstanding and overoptimism about the circumstances is to constantly focus attention on identifying what the most important irresistible forces are. In fact, those who use this approach report that it is one of the most effective ways they have experienced to improve an enterprise's ability to adjust to irresistible forces.

What are the irresistible forces that have, are having, and could have the greatest positive and negative impact on your organization?

To a person sitting calmly in a secure underground shelter, the raging tornado overhead doesn't seem too threatening. Many organizations have succeeded in such sheltered environments because they have yet to be subject to the full fury of the irresistible forces.

An excellent reason for looking at the past is to appreciate whether the organization is succeeding because conditions are indeed fair, or simply because others are fighting forces that don't yet affect you but that will eventually. For example, many chemical companies initially reported in 1997 that the overseas economic problems had no impact on their operations.

Two years later, many of these same companies were showing very weak profits as demand and prices for chemicals slumped in many markets with devalued currencies. These slumps in turn caused worldwide prices to be lower, because of oversupplies of products and excess capacity.

What is the best way to monitor these forces and spot new ones in the future? Monitoring is a tricky function. If your technical analyst understands what's going on but no one else does, you'll have gained little advantage over the alternative situation of being completely unaware of what's happening. The best ways to monitor are ones that everyone participates in and understands.

Here's an example. In a major consumer products company, the executives didn't often travel. When they did travel, those they visited expected to see them. As a result, operations and customer relations always seemed great.

Then, the same executives when on unannounced tours and avoided their local people. The executives were appalled to see how poorly their operation was being run and quickly began to install measurements to help them continually test the waters for performance.

As a result, many new forces and mistakes were discovered sooner and practical solutions were soon in place.

Avoid the cocoon of seeing only what others want you to see!
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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