I’ve just finished reading John Bernard’s Business at the Speed of NOW. First off, it’s a must-read for everyone who wants to learn more about management and leadership. It’s also filled with lessons that can put an impact on the businesses of today.
One thing is true here: as time passes, the paradigm for the business environment shifts. It serves no master, it is a powerful force that filters the weak from the strong.
In other words, companies must evolve or die. Like evolution, success demands an expansion of how an individual or group thinks what works and would lead them forward.
“We are in the midst of the biggest economic shift in more than a century”
This is the NOW. Gone are days of quantity over quality. The Romans were correct after all. Instead of creating a massive fighting unit, they stuck with the small and cost-effective legion. This made me realize the massive change that just happened over a century, effectively culling the ways of the old. Companies that do not adapt simply become part of the casualty of time.
Back in the days of traditional media, newspapers, and flyers were the number one medium of information dissemination and what was produced by that medium is then what was consumed. Therefore, creating a singularity, a monopoly of information – and you can’t blame them.
But with the recent advance on information dissemination such as the “internet” wherein, everyone has the freedom to say, post, and read is accessible with a click of a mouse. Basically, creating different avenues on how information is digested.
But I digress, the point here is that before you had “mass production”, now, come the new age of technology, you have “mass customization”. Mass production becomes obsolete as time goes by, and the population being run by the millennials, a generation so optimistic and technology savvy, is never conducive to the old ways.
“They prefer it fast and tailor-made to their ways. They enjoy value than excess.”
This applies to everything. This means working effectively in the now volatile arena wherein the greatest constant is Change.
Companies should learn how to appeal to the NOW. How do you fire up YOUR people, thrill your customers, crush the opposition, and improving the overall organizational health?
What I learned from Bernard’s book is about building an agile and cost-effective management system.
How, you say? You start from the ranks. You must enable a yes-ability. The management’s work of today should center on enabling immediate action and ensuring that all actions align with the direction and goal of the business. It requires a head-on collision as what the managers did at the time of “Mass Production”
The chief indicator of management variation is confusion. If there is no clear direction then the people’s organization will not have a sense of direction and will not spot opportunities. If there is no single line of sight they will not see the connection of their work, thus not making the best possible decision in their work.
If people lack the skills and the tools they need to get the desired results, they won’t get results. A fatal move to those who do not adapt. But organizations that do counter this medieval technique develop new mindsets, one that starts at the top and permeates the entire organization.
The NOW mindset consists of 5 traits:
- They use facts to find the truth.
- They serve and decide effectively.
- They improve their process.
- They count on people and people count on them.
- They create a target to keep score and maintain focus.
In order to flourish in the world of mass customization, a company must be agile and efficient in terms of establishing new systems and embedding them deeply in the organization. This means that everyone – from the board of directors to the chap who polishes the lobby floors at night – must embrace the mentality, and utilize the tools that enable them to improve everything they do.
Like a computer, every part plays an essential role. If you want to know which part might stall the organization, look for the weaker ones. If you find constraints that hinder decision making and doing business, that’s where the system will bottleneck or simply shut-down.
The new marketplace demands the effective, the agile and the brave. The world creates a new logic that every worker should take decisive actions.
In today’s business world, you never turn your back on new ideas regardless of how little they present themselves. Even the smallest of sparks can create the biggest of wildfires. We all need new ideas. When do we want it? NOW.