Business and Leadership: Survival Conditions
Current times push strongly the new reshaping of how corporations and their leaders should face the new millennium challenges. The concept of Change Management became from a definitional sphere, to a much more in-built business strategy to ensure survival and existence of a company. For an organization to survive change, and, better even, to profit from it and guarantee its success in the emerging new world, it must fulfill five conditions. These conditions are as follows:
a. It must have a strong and enlightened leadership, capable of guiding the organization beyond short-term performance, towards sustainable development
b. It must recognize the value of each of its four resources, and manage them at strategic level in an integrated way in order to create and develop the human capital that is becoming the single most precious asset of any organization
c. It must develop a close and strong partnership between people and technologies so as to secure the levels of performance required not only to survive today, but also to generate the value that will ensure sustainability
d. It must stop being egocentric and turn itself towards its external environment because sustainable development is all about contributing to the environment, the society. It must therefore acknowledge its clients, but also the suppliers, competitors, partners, media, universities, communities that constitute its value network, and integrate them at all levels in its activities
e. It must deliberately design the combination of brick-and-mortar and virtual structures, and the configuration thereof, that will best stimulate the motivation and performance of its resources.
The first condition that any organization must fulfill in order to remain viable over time in its fast-changing environment relates to its Leadership:
• The organization’s Leadership must exist, and it must be strong and enlightened; it must shift from a “here and now” focus aiming at ensuring optimal yearly performance (measured in money terms), to a future-orientation aiming at ensuring sustainable development (measured in economic, social and environmental value terms).
To ensure their organization’s viability over time, leaders must:
o Shape, and convince employees to own, a corporate culture (vision, mission, values, competencies, commitments) that binds the organization together and makes it unique in the market
o Identify the organization’s value network and its positioning within the external environment, design the organization’s overall structure and establish governance rules that will clarify the kind of citizen it wants to be, the reputation it wants to have, and the level of security and ethics it desires
o Set long-term corporate goals in line with the organization’s vision and mission, design a business strategy to reach these goals and translate this strategy into operating plans and budgets
o Recognize the value of the four corporate resources, clarify expectations, and design the portfolio (money), organization chart (people), infostructure (technologies) and knowledge center (knowledge) that will optimally support the business strategy
o Ensure that through the synergetic utilization of the four resources in line with the business strategy and within governance rules and cultural guidelines, the organization reaches optimal performance, i.e. the ability to accumulate enough financial reserves (or to convince fund sources to go on providing enough financial resources) to continue to operate and to strive towards long-term goals
o Ensure that beyond short-term performance, the organization develops a valuable human capital and generates enough economic, social and environmental value to reach sustainable development.
o Identify Key Performance Indicators, set monitoring systems at all levels of the organization to verify the validity of decisions and policies, to measure return on investments, to assess generated value, to identify errors and discrepancies, and rectify the course accordingly to optimize the chances of the organization.