“Seeing Around Corners” as a Core Business Competency

In the New Economy, the best companies try to see around corners in a world of change. You’re much more likely to succeed in your career and as an organization if you know where your industry, and your sector of the economy is going.

  • You don’t have to be Siemens or General Electric to looking ahead, and use that knowledge to know whether to tighten your business focus or broaden it.
  • There’s plenty of information out there that can guide you when plotting a strategic course. For instance, you can make a very good, well-informed guess whether to customize more or commoditize more strictly, if you look at your own differentiators.
  • Larger guide-lines are emerging. For instance, if you can choose between  more product innovation or more process innovation, there is generally better ROI from process innovation.

At CPS, we nearly all have post-grad statistics qualifications. We’ve spent our careers (longer or shorter) loving economics, strategy, projections and futurists.

As a growing small business, we see the following trends in the near-to-medium future:

1. The continued rapid growth of technology and complexity.  The trends point to

  • a need for management of information overload,
  • more collaborative information crunching,
  • a growing crisis of information security.

The other side of security is transparency: your personal brand, and your brand as an employer, will be significant in the search for both jobs and talent.

2. Globalization. Global economics, trade and global wages will affect all economies for the foreseeable future. Some nations have ‘expensive costs of living’ but are now competing with developing-nation wages. Their success in this competition will depend on a lot of factors. One factor is the ability to keep educational development chasing tech development as closely as possible.

3. Multi-culturalism will be a major challenge for all nations in a global economy, but for different reasons.

  • Diverse nations will need to learn to work with multi-cultural customers and suppliers at home as well as abroad, so all staff members will need training.
  • Less-diverse nations will be able to concentrate on training their international negotiators, service agents and executives, winning RFPs and contracts more effectively.
  • Nations that are “culturally-similar” (e.g. USA, UK, Australia) will have unexpected difficulty bridging invisible cultural gaps.
  • Nations with proud histories (France, USA) will find cultural fluency harder to learn than many others. Ultimately, however, the loss of international business will hurt them (us) enough for them (us) to become sincerely interested in learning the necessary skills to compete in a global marketplace.

4. The rising gap between education exit standards and the requirements of business. This includes

  • (a) the application gap between college knowledge and working knowledge;
  • (b) the “Boomer gap” – the experience in any generation where people of any age can’t keep up with the speed of change and
  • (c) the “blue collar gap” where a gulf develops between the better-educated and those who become disenfranchised from a high-tech economy.

We can add

  • (d) the misalignment of economic needs with education outputs (e.g. the US’s graduating more visual arts people than engineers) which may create a tension between business policy and and immigration policy if China, India etc produce more engineers and technicians than they need internally.

5. The need for leadership. Flatter, more networked and more collaborative leadership delivers better results in business today. However these management skills are difficult and learned, not inborn. The work of training leaders with all the skills they require is mind-boggling. Leaders are retiring and new leaders need to be trained.

US society itself is actually tending to become more hierarchical, and the gap between rich and poor is widening. This makes collaborative management harder.

6. The reorganization of large business.  Any large organization needs on-going reorganization. Where employees have valuable talent and knowledge, this accelerates change. In a transparent, networked world, knowledge workers will always engage with each other, and the option is really to manage change or cope with uncontrolled change.

If barriers to entry for small business are low (e.g. software), change is faster.   Capital intensive industries (hospitals, defense, transportation etc.) may take a longer time to evolve, as they can withstand break-aways, innovators, new competitors etc for longer.

7. The on-going rise of small/medium business. Small and medium sized enterprises will continue to grow in number and competitiveness. One effect will be a tension in the struggle for talented leaders and innovators between small business and large organizations.  Many hard-to-retain services (such as IT) will simply be outsourced. As always, the price of such services will be a measure of the scarcity of the resource.

How does this affect you and/or your business?

Begin with your differentiators.

Certain qualities, skills and experiences make you and/or your business different. What are these?

A company like CPS  has a specific differentiator. This is breadth of knowledge (technology, complex thinking, writing, width of business and leadership experience, internationalism and a passion for understanding the skills that create success in the New Economy).  We’re the opposite of the one-trick pony. So we fit the  field of custom, interactive training, coaching and consulting.

We’re looking for complex problems that might change as we work on them, or maybe have many factors – maybe  tech plus leadership, sales and teamwork  all together (maybe including writing new documentation or finding new international markets).

What’s your differentiator(s)?

  1. What is your future?
  2. Which client do you want? Which market should you try to service? What isn’t and shouldn’t be part of what you offer?
  3. What process should you improve? What skills do your people need?
  4. Are you swimming with the tide or against it? Are you kidding yourself about the past coming back? (It’s not going to happen.)

Call CPS for a free discussion about your business, and how we can make your life easier and a lot more profitable. Talk to us about how we frequently get 50% funding for our affordable programs. Ask us for references. You won’t be disappointed.

Glynis Ross-Munro

President, Competency & Performance Solutions

glynis@c-psolutions.com 813 598 9184