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Insulate Your Enterprise from the Cold Head Winds of Changed Trends

Mar 21, 2008
Some businesses wrongly consider irresistible forces as more stable than they are. The irresistible growth enterprise should assume, instead, that irresistible forces will always change, sometimes more suddenly and unexpectedly than ever before.

The company that operates from this assumption will be well positioned to use the volatility brought about by irresistible forces like globalization, interlinked economies, shifting financial markets, and changing consumption patterns to be even more successful.

How can you use future volatility in irresistible forces to allow your enterprise to have less risk and grow more rapidly than if irresistible forces are stable?

In answering this question, you are wise to consider directions that will be rewarding both if the irresistible forces are more volatile and if they are not. Scenario planning for both such options will often allow irresistible growth enterprises to locate superior strategies, ways of operating, and safety measures that are good for the enterprise, regardless of what happens next. That is the sort of solution you should seek out.

The phrasing of this question is designed to focus your attention on the unthinkable, which will help you to identify new choices that you have not yet considered. One such possible solution could be to target improving ways to serve both the needs of customers whose requirements will be most stable as well as those who will swing greatly if circumstances change.

You can then smoothly shift how much of your attention is paid to each market based on what actually happens. This might mean having both "booming economy products" and "recessionary products" under development at the same time. This approach can even help you prosper in mixed markets where some customers are experiencing good times while others are not.

How can you streamline your operations to make them more flexible for more rapid and effective adaptation to changes in irresistible forces and new irresistible forces? You can start your thinking with rapid provision of custom products and services, getting goods from suppliers on a just-in-time basis, getting paid in advance by customers, and using electronic commerce.

You should be sure to consider large changes, far beyond what anyone else has done already. You already live in an age in which the large, inflexible organization is an endangered species. In the next few years, more and more of them will become extinct.

Dell Computer has used an innovation in enterprise design that has served it well in this regard. As the company grows, it subdivides its customers into narrower and narrower categories and subcategories, and reassigns management quite frequently so each executive and manager can focus on the needs of one ever-narrower sliver of the customer universe.

Dell said, "If you just lump diverse customers together, you can be sure that some of them will come last on some manager's list, and he may never get around to solving their problems."

Dell expanded on this point in an address: "We've been pretty aggressive in our company about surrounding ourselves with the best talent we can find and structuring our business for success, even to the point of dividing up peoples' jobs. This has now become part of our company culture. . . Six months later, because of growth, their job is the same size it was before, and they say, 'Please cut my job in half, I've got too much!'"

Rather than constantly stretching people beyond what they can handle, this policy of dividing jobs in half with growth keeps people operating at their optimum effectiveness. Also, it makes it much easier to attract and retain outstanding new people by presenting them with lots of chance for personal growth and promotion, with less risk of excess hours and burnout than in traditional organizations.
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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