Posts

The Big Picture of Business: Lessons About Business Planning To Be Learned from the Y2K Bug

The U.S. economy spent between $800 billion and one trillion dollars fixing and treating the so-called Y2K Bug. Certainly, aspects of the bug were treated successfully, and troubles were averted because of professional actions. No doubt, public hype contributed to a ‘sky is falling’ situation that made computer consultants rich.

Technology constitutes less than 1% of any organization’s overall Big Picture. Computer activity constitutes less than 1% of the technology picture. Thus, efforts to treat a fraction of one percent took resources away from addressing the other 99.999% of companies’ full-scope planning.

My concern was that money was diverted from most other aspects of organizational wellness toward treating one symptom of one disease. I advocated a balanced approach toward planning, visioning and the Big Picture.

Rather than bash those who neglected other aspects of the organization in favor of Y2K Readiness, let’s refocus what we did and learned toward other future applications.

Among the lessons which we learned from the Y2K Bug exercise were:

  • When they want to do so, company leadership will provide sufficient resources to plan for the future, including crisis management and preparedness (of which computer glitches are one set of ‘what ifs.’)
  • When they want to do so, company leadership will provide leadership for change management and re-engineering… two of the many worthwhile concepts that should be advocated every business day.
  • People are the company’s most valuable resource, representing 28% of the Big Picture. Today’s work force will need three times the amount of training that it presently gets in order for the organization to be competitive in the millennium.
  • Change is good. Like change… don’t fear it. Change is 90% positive. Without always noticing it, individuals and organizations change 71% per year. The secret is to benefit from change, rather than become a victim of it.
  • Pro-active change involves the entire organization. When all departments are consulted and participate in the decisions, then the company is empowered.
  • Fear and failure are beneficial too. One learns three times more from failure than from success. Failures propel us toward our greatest future successes.
  • When we work with other companies and the public sector, we collaborate better. All benefit, learn from each other and prepare collectively for the future.
  • In the future and in order to successfully take advantage of the future, make planning a priority, not just a knee-jerk reaction.

Calculating Each Organization’s High Costs

People and organizations are wont to throw money at things that pop up at the moment or that look good at external publics. It is easier to tinker with machines than to admit that the organization has deep management and philosophical issues. After all, 92% of all organizational problems stem from poor management decisions.

Our society is infested with the band-aid surgery way of treating things as they come up. This approach costs six times that of doing things correctly on the front end… meaning planning, sequential execution and benchmarking progress.

Each year, one-third of the U.S. Gross National Product goes toward cleaning up problems, damages and otherwise high costs of doing either nothing or doing the wrong things.

On the average, it costs six times the investment of preventive strategies to correct business problems (compounded per annum and exponentially increasing each year). In some industries, the figure is as high as 30 times…six is the mean average.

The old adage says: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” One pound equals 16 ounces. In that scenario, one pound of cure is 16 times more mostly than an ounce of prevention.

Human beings as we are, none of us do everything perfectly on the front end. There always must exist a learning curve. Research shows that we learn three times more from failures than from successes. The mark of a quality organization is how it corrects mistakes and prevents them from recurring.

“They can’t hang you for saying nothing,” quipped President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920’s. He spent more time doing chores at his farm and taking long naps than taking care of the nation’s business. Coolidge prided himself upon doing little and, thus, failed to see crises brewing during his presidency. This ‘keep your head in the sand’ mentality is prevalent of people who move on and let others clean up the damage.

Doing nothing becomes a way of life. It’s amazing how many individuals and companies live with their heads in the sand. Never mind planning for tomorrow… we’ll just deal with problems as they occur. This mindset, of course, invites and tends to multiply trouble.

7 Categories of High Costs

  1. Cleaning Up Problems. Waste, Spoilage. Poor controls. Down-time. Lack of employee motivation and activity. Back orders because they were not properly stocked. Supervisory involvement in retracing problems and effecting solutions.
  2. Rework. Product recalls. Make-good for shoddy or inferior work. Poor location. Regulatory red tape. Excess overhead.
  3. Missed Marks. Poor controls on quality. Fallout damage from employees with problems. Undercapitalization. Unsuccessful marketing. Unprofitable pricing.
  4. Damage Control. Crisis management. Lawsuits incurred because procedures were not upheld. Affirmative action violations. Violations of OSHA, ADA, EEOC, EPA and other codes. Disasters due to employee carelessness, safety violations, oversights, etc. Factors outside your company that still impede your ability to do business.
  5. Recovery and Restoration. Repairing ethically wrong actions. Empty activities. Mandated cleanups, corrections and adaptations. Employee turnover, rehiring and retraining. Isolated or unrealistic management. Bad advice from the wrong consultants. Repairing a damaged company reputation.
  6. Retooling and Restarting. Mis-use of company resources, notably its people. Converting to existing codes and standards. Chasing the wrong leads, prospects or markets. Damage caused by inertia or lack of progress. The anti-change ‘business as usual’ philosophy. Long-term expenses incurred by adopting quick fixes.
  7. Opportunity Costs. Failure to understand what business they’re really in. Inability to read the warning signs or understand external influences. Failure to change. Inability to plan. Over-dependence upon one product or service line. Diversifying beyond the scope of company expertise. Lack of an articulated, well-implemented vision.

Remediating the High Costs

7 Primary Factors of The High Cost of Doing Nothing™:

  1. Failure to value and optimize true company resources.
  2. Poor premises, policies, processes, procedures, precedents and planning.
  3. Opportunities not heeded or capitalized.
  4. The wrong people, in the wrong jobs. Under-trained employees.
  5. The wrong consultants (miscast, untrained, improperly used).
  6. Lack of articulated focus and vision. With no plan, no journey will be completed.
  7. Lack of movement really means falling behind the pack and eventually losing ground.

What Could Have Reduced These High Costs:

  1. Effective policies and procedures.
  2. Setting and respecting boundaries.
  3. Realistic expectations and measurements.
  4. Training and development of people.
  5. Commitments to quality at all links in the chain.
  6. Planning.
  7. Organizational vision.

7 Levels of Handling Problems, Determining Effectiveness

  1. Do Nothing. Think that things will work themselves out or that causes of problems will go away. Research shows that doing nothing results in creating 3-6 more affiliated problems.
  2. Deny, Actively Avoid. Don’t see problems as such. Keep one’s head in the sand and remain impervious to warning signs of trouble. Go to great lengths to put positive spins on anything that may point back to one’s self, department or organization as being problematic.
  3. Cover Up. Cover-ups cost 6-12 times that of addressing problems upfront. In addition to financial, cover-up costs can include the effects upon morale, activity levels, productivity, decision making, creativity, adaptation and innovation. Even after the cover-up has fully played out, there is an additional cost: the period of recovery and restoration of confidence.
  4. Partially Address. Perform band-aid surgery, at such time as action is demanded. Address signs and symptoms, without addressing root causes. This shows that something is being done, but it is often the wrong thing at the wrong time.
  5. Handle in Politically Correct Terms. Some problems are addressed, partially or fully, because bosses, regulators or stakeholders expect it. Some are handled for fear of repercussion. This motive results in tentative actions, with lip service paid to deep solutions.
  6. Address Head-On. Problems are, of course, opportunities to take action. Everyone makes mistakes, and success lies in the way that problems are recognized, solved and learned from. The mark of a true manager is to recognize problems sooner, rather than later. The mark of an effective leader is the ability and willingness to take swift and definitive actions. The mark of an empowered team is its participation in this process. The mark of a successful organization is its endorsement and insistence upon this method of action.
  7. Address in Advance, Preparing for Situations. Pro-actively study for patterns. 85% of the time, crises which are predicted, pre-addressed and strategized are averted. The skill in pre-managing problems is a fundamental tenet of a quality-oriented organization.

If postured properly, the process of planning and visioning remediates opportunity costs before they occur. Running a profitable and efficient organization means effectively remediating damage before it accrues. Processes and methodologies for researching, planning, executing and benchmarking activities will reduce that pile of costly coins from stacking up.


About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

The Big Picture of Business: The Realities of Networking

This essay has taken 50,000 hours of my life to write. From wasted and misspent time come perspective and wisdom.

Networking can be and should be a wonderful thing. In theory, you meet people, share ideas and grow richer for the experience. Indirectly, it enhances the climate in which business is done.

Ostensibly, all participants benefit from the synergy.

If one is growing from networking and all parties benefit, it works well. Unfortunately, one can get caught in a trap of being on the short end of the equation. One can wake up, realize their energy has been zapped and experience setbacks in their business because he-she was spending disproportionate time on networking.

These pointers are offered to help manage time and resources. Business organizations are like trees. They seemingly look the same from day to day and will live forever. To the untrained eye, most resemble each other. After all, they are just trees (companies)!

This essay is not to discourage networking. It stimulates questions about your own wants, desires, experiences, gains, losses and changing perspectives in the game of ‘give and take’.

By curbing old behavior patterns, you may feel less-used and get more out of future networking. By analyzing the true motives for networking (yours and other people’s), one can avoid hurt feelings and letdowns. By approaching the process with a realistic attitude, positive outcomes of future efforts will pay better dividends.

Categories of Networking

Professional Networkers. For some people, it is their job to network, on behalf of their companies. They are given salaries, expense accounts, support staff and a company machine which sees business development and lobbying value in their work. These people jockey for favor with the power structures and are accorded community standing based upon the reputation-value of their company. People defer to them because of the wealth of their companies. They regularly squire stakeholders to charity events at corporate-purchased tables. None of their community stewardship comes out of their own pockets. Some of these people get the ‘big head’ and think of themselves as local celebrities. They get a rude awakening when they leave their job.

Hobbyist Networkers. These people want to get involved, partly for business and partly to interface with the community. When they network, it means dollars, resources and time out of their own pockets. They exchange ideas, swap cards, engage in base-level volunteer work and participate in several concurrent networks. They are also valued according to the reputation of their companies, directly commensurate to how much money they give to charities and business organizations. In-kind donations (especially their time) are not valued as highly as money. It is unfair to stack them against professional networkers, but the community does. Since many are small business people, solo practitioners, sales force members and entrepreneurs, they make great sacrifices to network… usually much more than the payoff.

Niche Networkers. These people may have started with the shotgun effect but have narrowed down. They network through trade associations, chambers of commerce, leads groups, conventions and other sources which are primarily devoted to business. They staff committees and events, hoping to generate more leads. The longer they network, the better they get at niche marketing. They cannot be all things to all people.

Social Networkers. Business networking receptions became the ‘singles bars’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Breakfast clubs carved their own niche… a balance of business, community and social networking. The same holds true with the ‘rubber chicken circuit’ (clubs, associations and coalitions of networking groups). Just like the 1970s night club scene, people went into situations indiscriminately looking. They wanted to get something but were not quite sure what. Some really believed a chance meeting in a bar would produce Mr. or Ms. Right. They came out unfulfilled because they didn’t really have clear objectives going in. The same is true with networking. The ideal customer doesn’t ‘discover you’ across a crowded room.

Wanna-Be Networkers. These people try to network anywhere and everywhere. They are in your face, at every turn. Their sense of accomplishment is in the quantity of business cards collected, lunches arranged and referral calls generated-completed. They network for the sake of networking… rarely with targeted purpose. Their opening line is: “What do you do?” Sizing you in terms of immediate benefit to them, they either probe further or move on. Usually, they are selling something and focus upon one of the niches listed above.

The Kind of Networking That Should Exist. This is the category that rarely exists. Senior executives do not really have networks of our own. Our junior staff members populate the trade associations, chambers of commerce and service organizations. Top executives isolate themselves from people with differing opinions. They say they crave roundtables with fellow seasoned executives but rarely attend. Inevitably, when high-level forums are organized, the juniors, mid-managers and self-marketers infiltrate and take over… which chases us away. Veteran executives meet on the charity party circuit, in board meetings and sometimes socially. Some commercial programs cater to this market but are usually populated by entrepreneurs on the way up. In the main, the top corporate strata is without an effective mechanism to network, share high-level ideas-experiences, get stimulated to overcome burnout and move toward higher plateaus. That’s why many senior business leaders wear down or retire earlier than they should.

Red Flags in the Network

I Knew You When. They see you as they once did. They connect with the old commonalities and find it hard to see the evolution that you have made. Try to enlighten them, and they convert it all back to their old frame of reference, with questions like “Do you still talk to X?” or “Whatever happened to Y?” or “Remember the time when Z happened?”

Gurus of Networking. These are often the worst violators of the process. They want you to be there for them and those whom they refer to you. Yet, try to get something meaningful out of them. When you set boundaries to your free access, they cut you out of their network. That’s not entirely bad, since you were likely peripheral to it in the first place.

Who Do You Know Who… In networking, the person who wants something stands three or four steps away from their ultimate target. As a member of the network, you are usually one of several conduits in their quest. It’s tough to not be consulted as an expert, but rather as a step on someone else’s journey.

You Once Did ____. Now I Want ____. Just because you once spoke to their business club, attended a workshop with them or served on a volunteer committee, they keep coming back to you for free work. To them, there is no statute of limitations on free access to your time, influence, resources or abilities.

X Says I Can Pick Your Brain. X probably gave your name to get rid of them. X doesn’t really value your time or would have asked in advance if you could be periodically referred. Try referring callers back to X as really being the ‘best person’ for them to consult. Tell them that X is far too modest and is your expert in that area. That will stop X from referring unsolicited nuisance callers.

If You ____, It Will Lead to Business. They always say that so you will volunteer to help their pet cause or serve their momentary need. People wave any carrot that will help to get what they want, think they need or wish they had. Entrepreneurs and service providers are easy targets to entice with the promise or glimmer of future business. Tell the networkers that you will do what they ask but only in reciprocation after the business transpires. Request a ‘show of good faith’ gesture from them in the first place.

Adopt My Interests. It’ll Be Good for You. This is the previous ploy with a new coat of paint. These people couch their requests in terms of your benefit. They just know that supporting their interests will get you somewhere and quickly add that it will be fun, as well. Don’t be fooled. The same requests go out to all whom they approach.

Feeding Egos in Hopes of Getting Somewhere. Many people do things to get noticed by others, in hopes they can do something for us. So, we serve on their volunteer committees, convinced they will think well of us…enough to speak well of us to still others. The problem is ‘they’ want to be noticed by others and only want committee members to support their agenda. You will likely be perceived as a conduit or support mechanism to their causes and objectives.

Circuitous Routes to Get What You Think You Want. Many of us do things for reasons for which we are not quite sure. Spending time networking or volunteering for projects seems like a good idea at the time. Surely benefits will accrue. I’m not saying that people should create agendas for every act or action. However, one must recognize and curb patterns of doing things for nebulous reasons, from which nebulous outcomes always emanate.

Have You Got a Card? That means they will be calling you for their own networking purposes. If you don’t want to get their calls, either say you are out of cards or tell them the truth… that you’re trying to cut down on networking activity. They’ll move on to someone else. Most of the time, they’re not after you… any warm body will do. Being completely upfront about setting your boundaries helps you feel better and deters future unsolicited calls.

Hard Core Clueless. Some people simply don’t know or care where you’re coming from. They are self-serving networkers and offer nothing for you. There is no converting them to your more enlightened way of thinking and operating. Spot them and avoid them.

People Who Refer You for Freebies – But Not for Business

I once agreed to meet to discuss serving on a non-profit board with an influential business executive, whose account I sought for my company. He had been using a pale-by-comparison, low-expertise competitor, and I thought he surely would want to grade up to the best. By knowing and working with me, he would discern excellence, switch his business to my company and be better off for it.

In the get-acquainted meeting, the executive explained that he did not mix business with volunteer work. He stated that I was a good person to serve on the board and give away my time, yet the incumbent agency had his business. That was his belief, and he wouldn’t change it. Curiously, his own business was predicated upon community goodwill, and he owed his fortune to the public appearance of being a good citizen.

So why, then, should I waste my time serving on his board? He started dangling carrots of potential business from other board members. I fell for the bait and regretted it after the first board meeting. Other members had like minds to the executive who recruited me. They had their network of business resources and referrals, and I was not part of it.

I gracefully bowed out, citing the press of business and over-commitment to other volunteer work. The board member took it as a slap in the face, proclaiming that we would never get any work from him. After all, it was my job to curry community favor. How dare I meet to consider volunteering and then pull out? He found other warm bodies. Curiously, that charity has been clouded by public investigations of questionable ethics and dubious fund-raising practices. I sensed that at the time…which was the other reason why I walked away.

Lesson Learned: Set boundaries up front. Tell them that you only volunteer on committees of people who have the willingness and actually do business with each other, if that’s your objective for participating. Let it be known that your volunteer time is a reward to those who support your company…not a prerequisite to being considered. Remind inquirers that you must be successful in your business first… in order to be in a position to give back to the community.

They Don’t Care What You Think – Just Do What They Want

Public officials are notorious for this. They make it clear that you are important to them. Once you give a contribution or volunteer time to their initial campaign, you are pigeon-holed on the solicitation mailing list. Then, it is hard to convert to another level in their minds.

Public officials spend your contributions hiring young, inexperienced staff members and rely upon them for advice. They pay great sums to so-called ‘political consultants’ but will not consider asking CEOs and seasoned business executives for meaningful policy advice. And the consultants with whom they contract are usually out-of-towners or those who have not ‘paid their dues’ to the community.

Try offering your advice-counsel, and it falls on deaf ears. Try to get them to open doors or somehow return the favors. You’ll quickly see how they aren’t available, forgot that they owed you a return courtesy and resent being asked for ‘quid pro quo’. Only money or volunteer time are wanted, thank you. Even though they decline or avoid you, the fund raiser invitations keep coming in the mail.

Lesson Learned: Set boundaries up front. Tell political candidates how you expect and are willing to be utilized. Give expertise on the front end, not money. If you want to be their advisor, tell them so. Don’t expect them to read your mind, after the fact.

Caring When Others Don’t

Some people will always go the extra distance for their organizations. They are consummate professionals and give their all to the company. They pursue professional development on their own time, bear personal monies to further the job, participate in community and volunteer activities and serve on committees. They have perfect attendance, rarely use all vacation days and don’t know what a coffee break is.

Yet, many of their colleagues do the bare minimum to get by. These people learned the Peter Principle and enjoy the same pay and benefits as those who knock themselves out. And they always take more days off. The system allows them to continue, without accountability or the stimulation to try harder.

The active few say they are setting an example by which others will follow. Who? When? Why should the non-involved join the active few, at this late date?

Those of us who have been the ‘active few’ in our organizations did not understand why the ‘non-active many’ did not behave accordingly. We sometimes begrudged the others for not doing their share. Yet, we kept on being active… as if it were a mission to the death.

Lesson Learned: Understand your true motives for going the distance. If you’re really doing it for your own enjoyment and fulfillment, you’re rare. Realities dictate that we all do some things for the good of the company, the job, the community and others. Keep it in balance. Don’t cheat yourself because you are spending energies on the ‘non-active many,’ mostly people who could care less.

Leadership Programs

Community stewardship – for the right reasons – is wonderful. Every executive must devote quality time toward volunteer work, service on boards and community involvement. It builds character, helps their career, showcases their company and pays dividends to the community.

Service in community activities is one of the few win-win propositions. It should be nourished and cherished. Senior executives must mentor young people on their obligations to give back to the community in classy, meaningful and definable ways.

Leadership programs exist in every major city. I went through one and followed with six years on their board of directors (their longest tenured board member). I innovated programs which brought acclaim, prestige, fund-raising, community collaborations and more to that organization.

It was one of the most important things I ever did. It also provided material for this essay, as well as my earlier chapter, ‘Has Beens, Never Wases and Wanna-Bes.’ That was because of the intense jealousy, inflated egos, unrealistic images and ill-planned projects of many of the members.

My reflection and analysis of the leadership program to which I gave 1,700 hours of my time (and covered all expenses out of my pocket) includes the following:

  • Professional Networkers dominate the organization. They are generally mid-managers from corporations, who use the name on the letterhead and the carrot of corporate donations to be treated royally. Most seek from leadership programs what they do not have at the office: prestige, name recognition and power.
  • People who work for non-profit organizations also populate leadership programs. Again, they’re getting what they may not get from their own boards, employees and employees.
  • There are plenty of Hobbyist Networkers…some just for the resume credit and others to troll for business.
  • Political wanna-bes use the organization as a launching pad. They use the mailing list as a fund-raising strategy. Members pressure others to host coffees, attend fund raisers and donate pro-bono time to campaigns. Heaven forbid that you ask for a networking favor in return, because, once elected, they quickly forget you.
  • Public officials who were graduates of the leadership program henceforth use the organization as a bully pulpit for their ideologies, positions and initiatives. Members either support them or are ostracized by the program’s officers.
  • Members besiege each other – with or without the official mailing list – for networking purposes. Someone who barely spoke to you in the program now wants to get you into their multi-level marketing program. Corporate lobbyists assume that you’ll support their initiatives because you are a fellow graduate of their leadership program. You’re on fund-raising mailing lists for everyone’s pet charity. People selling everything from stocks to used cars badger you… under the banner of the leadership program.
  • Then, there were the handful of us who were there for meaningful dialog, relationship building, community synergy and leadership development. Oh, well!

Lesson Learned: All of this sounds like high school student council, doesn’t it? The same personality types tend to be attracted to leadership programs, along with the networkers. No organization is ideal or idealistic. Politics and hidden agendas are everywhere. If the benefits outweigh the negatives, then it was worthwhile. In my opinion, leadership program benefits are infinitely greater than the downsides. Learning stems from perspectives. My learning from leadership programs has far outweighed the other useless and wasted networking initiatives detailed earlier in this essay.

How Quickly They Forget

Some people are creative and innovative. They craft concepts and then turn them over to others to implement or perpetuate. Recipients of other people’s achievements will try to mold them as their own, injecting their touch. Often, it’s not as good as the original creation. The more that people tinker with the concept, it gets watered down. Egos of the latters won’t allow them to consult or involve the originator. In time, the latters will claim it as their brainchild and will not acknowledge the innovator.

I recall creating at least 30 such concepts that took circuitous and downward paths after turning them over to others. Sometimes, my only involvement was destined to be on the front end… giving concepts to fresh faces, with the chance to blossom and grow. Sometimes, the recipient organizations were so ungrateful for the innovation or clueless as to its value that I backed away. Sometimes, the concepts were only meant as one-time projects or to have short-term lives… though others chose to milk a good thing beyond its effectiveness.

It’s tough to create and watch others butcher your idea. That makes it hard to market the concept as your creation.

Lesson Learned: If you are creating ideas and projects and intend to use them as case studies and for business development, get written documentation from authoritative people concerning your creation. Ask for thank-you letters and send to others who will influence the benefits you seek to reap. Apply for awards, where appropriate. Be recognized at their board meetings and other public forums. A pat on the back or a congratulation after an event can be quickly rescinded, when they choose to forget your contributions. Get documentation in writing… acknowledging what you did, how you did it and the long-term implications for what you created.

Questions to Ask About Networking:

  • Is the person making the request a true friend, a business associate or just an acquaintance? Who are they to you, and what would you like for them to be?
  • Will there be outcomes or paybacks for the other person? Will there be outcomes or paybacks for you? If there’s a discrepancy in these answers, how do you feel about it?
  • Are there networking situations which are beneficial for all parties? If so, analyze them, so that you can align with those situations, rather than the fruitless ones?
  • What types of ‘wild goose chases’ have you pursued in your networking career? Analyze them by category, to see patterns.
  • Is the person requesting something of you willing to offer something first?
  • Are the people truly communicating when they network? Or, are hidden agendas the reason for networking? Without communicating wants, it is tough to achieve outcomes.
  • How much time away from business can you take? How does it compare with the business you can or will generate?

Concluding Thoughts on Networking:

  • Networking is a Two-Way Proposition. Associate with those who feel similarly.
  • Show and Demonstrate Respect for Each Other’s Time.
  • Be Careful Not to Pro-Bono Yourself to Death.
  • Budget Networking Time. See your time for networking and volunteering as a commodity. Budget it each year. Examine and benchmark the reasons and results.

Set boundaries, and offer your time on an ‘a la carte’ basis.


About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

The Big Picture of Business – The Book of Acronyms

Organizations are accustomed to looking at concepts and practices one way at a time. Clinging to obsolete definitions and viewpoints have a way of perpetuating companies into downward spirals.

By viewing from others’ viewpoints on life, we find real nuggets of gold with which to redefine organizations.

Companies that adopt new viewpoints and defy their conventional definitions will create new opportunities, organizational effectiveness, marketplaces and relationships.

As a Big Picture business strategist, I encourage clients toward adopting new ways of thinking about old processes, including those which brought past and enduring successes. Symbolic are these phrase definitions which I have created for familiar business words. I have created new acronyms for well-known business terms, in order to help us visualize opportunities differently.

My acronym for BUSINESS:
Big-picture
Understanding
Symbiosis
In
Nomenclature,
Economics,
Systems, and
Services

WORK:
Windows of
Opportunity,
Requiring
Know-how

My acronym for GOALS:
Getting
Organized
Allowing
Lifeblood
Systems

Growth
Opportunities
And
Legacy
Support

THINK:
To
Have
Ideas,
New
Keys

FAILURE:
Finding
Answers
In
Life,
Utilizing
Retrospective
Enlightenment

SETBACK:
See
Experiences
in Terms of
Business
Accomplishments,
Commending
Knowledge

SUCCESS:
Sophisticated
Utilizing of
Conditions,
Contributions,
Energies,
Strengths and
Synergies

My acronyms for FEAR:
Find
Excellence
After
Reflection

Formulating
Energies
Actions and
Responsibilities

TECHNOLOGY
Teaching
Excellence
Can
Have
Numerous
Outcomes on the
Life
Of the
Global
You

WEB:
Worthwhile
Economical
Business

EMAIL:
Enlightening
Marketplaces
And
Initiating
Links

PAST:
Perspectives
And
Systematic
Thoughts

FUTURISM
Fully
Utilized
Thinking
Underscoring
Retrospective
Insights
Synergizing
Methodologies

QUALITY:
Quintessential
Understanding of
Actions,
Linkages, and
Information
Taught to
You

AWARD:
Amazing
Wins
Are
Really
Deserved

PLANNING:
Process to
Learn
Alternatives,
Narratives,
Notations, and
Insights
Necessary for
Growth

TEAM:
Training and
Education…
Always
Meaningful

My acronyms for VISION:
Valuable
Intelligence
Search
In
Organizational
Networks

Viewing
Ideas,
Systems,
Insights and
Occasional
Newness

STAR:
Super
Talent,
Acting
Responsibly

DECISION
Duty for
Executives to
Communicate
Issues,
Symbolisms, and
Important
Organizational
Necessities

SPEECH:
Sophisticated
Presentation
Equates
Enlightenment,
Communication and
Harmony

ETHICS
Enlightened
Thinking…
Holding
Ideologies,
Commitments,
Sensitivities

The purpose of any business is not just to make money. It is to be just:

  • Committed to customers.
  • Respectful of employees.
  • Successful enough to grow, pay its dues and continue growing.
  • Upholding standards of quality and commitment.
  • Focused through everything else we back to our customers.

Too often, one hears about what goes wrong in business relationships. From our viewpoint, if business is conducted honorably and professionally, then profitability and success flow from doing the right things… not from pursuing false goals.

The best successes are earned and learned. We should not take good fortune for granted. Business track records are garnered by going the distance, reading the trends and continually changing. As the years go by, one continues paying dues. Learning, experiencing and evaluating is the best process to achieve lasting success. The best dues yield nuggets of wisdom that couldn’t have been earned any other way.

The smartest person is the one who knows what he-she does not know. With maturity comes the quest to learn more, understand the factors and apply newly acquired insights to higher purposes. The person who commits to a path of professional development never stops achieving… and profitably impacts his-her business relationships.

Language is food for the mind. Browse a dictionary, and you create new ideas. Words are fun and connect your business to tomorrow. Technology cannot take the place of human communication… only may add to it. Every opportunity should be taken to enhance literacy skills of employees and entire organization. The language of success is initially found in a dictionary.

My acronyms for EDUCATION:
Standpoint of students:
Earning
Distinction
Usually
Capitalizes
After
Training and
Instruction
Optimize
Net-rewards

Standpoint of teachers:
Each
Day
Unleash
Creativity
After
Teaching and
Inspiration
Occur
Noticeably

MUSIC:
Masterfully
Utilizing
Symbiosis,
Imagination and
Congruence

HEALTH:
Honoring
Excellence
Allows
Leadership
Toward
Humanity

FINANCE
Formulating
Information,
Notations
And
Newly
Changing
Efficiencies

RESEARCH:
Reasoned
Enlightenment,
Seeking
Education
And
Responsibly
Connecting
Hypotheses

TRUTH:
Teach
Realities
Uniformly
Through
Harmony

COMMUNITY
Citizens
Offering
Missions,
Methodologies,
Unification,
Needs and
Interconnections
To
You

MEETING:
Minds
Excercising
Effectiveness
Through
Ideas,
Negotiating
Goals

MONEY:
Mounting
Organizational
Necessities
Equal
Yields

BROKER:
Business
Resource for
Opportunities and
Keywords for
Economic
Rewards

SELL:
Skillfully
Explaining
Linking
Language

Seeking
Enlightenment…
Listening and
Learning

CHANGE:
Continually
Having dedicated
A
Natural
Guidepost
Effect

DIVERSITY:
Different
Ideas,
Visions,
Energies,
Realities,
Symbolisms and
Insights
Throughout
Yourself

LEARNING:
Legacy
Encompasses
All
Resource
Narratives
Introducing
Noticeable
Galvanization

KNOWLEDGE
Kaleidescopic
Nucleus
Of
Weighed
Learning
Embracing
Development,
Growth and
Effervescence

WISDOM
We
Influence
Society
Due to
Our
Mastery

REWARDS
Reap
Expectations
With
A
Resilient,
Durable
System

RESPECT
Responsibilities
Epitomize
Sophisticated
Perspectives,
Earning
Commensurate
Truths

TRAINING
Teaching
Radiant
And
Innovative
Nourishment
Inspires
Natural
Growth

LISTEN
Language
In
Studying
The
Evident
Networks

PROBLEM
Polarizing
Routine
Obstacles
By
Letting
Elegance
Materialize

SERVICE
Securing
Excellence
Requires
Visualizing
Innovating
Customer
Effectiveness

PROGRESS
Pursuing
Royal
Objective
Gauges…
Rewarding
Empowered
Super
Service

FORTUNE
Future
Operations
Require
Teams
Understanding
Needs and
Expectations

INNOVATE
Imagining
Niches and
Norms,
Optimizing
Valuable
Alliances,
Training and
Experiences

Every business, company or organization goes through cycles in its evolution. At any point, each program or business unit is in a different phase from others. The astute organization assesses the status of each branch on its Business Tree™ and orients its management and team members to meet constant changes and fluctuations. Going ‘outside the box’ to shift perceptions enables any company to think, plan and operate in productive new ways.

Characteristics of Creative Business Definitions… thus, Company Philosophy…

  • Focus upon the customer.
  • Honor the employees.
  • Show business life as a continuous quality process (not a quick fix or rapid gain).
  • Portray their company as a contributor (not a savior).
  • Clearly define their niche (not trying to be all things).
  • Say things that inspire you to think.
  • Compatible with other company activities and behaviors.
  • Remain consistent with their products, services and track record.

About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

The Big Picture of Business – Setting, Meeting, and Benefiting from Goals

Businesses should review their Strategic Plan annually. New year projections are the best time to benchmark progress and adjust sights for the coming term.

Additionally, corporate executives must have personal goals written, in conjunction with a professional business coach or mentor. Goals require measurable objectives, with realistic dates and percentages for successful accomplishment.

Goals should also focus upon balance between corporate ideals and a healthy personal life for executives.

Reasons for Goal Setting:

  1. Human beings live to attract goals.
  2. Organizations get people caught in activity traps… unless managers periodically pull back and reassess in terms of goals.
  3. Managers lose sight of their employees’ goals. Employees work hard, rather than productively. Mutually agreed-upon goals are vital.
  4. People caught in activity traps shrink, rather than grow, as human beings. Hard work that produces failures yields apathy, inertia and loss of self-esteem. People become demeaned or diminished as human beings when their work proves meaningless. Realistic goals can curb this from happening.
  5. Failure can stem from either non-achievement of goals or never knowing what they were. The tragedy is both economic and humanistic. Unclear objectives produce more failures than incompetence, bad work, bad luck or misdirected work.
  6. When people know and have helped set their goals, their performance improves. The best motivator is knowing what is expected and analyzing one’s one performance relative to mutually agreed-upon criteria.
  7. Goal attainment leads to ethical behavior. The more that an organization is worth, the more worthy it becomes.
  8. Most management subsystems succeed or fail according to the clarity of goals of the overall organization.

How to Find Goals:

  1. Examine problems.
  2. Study the organization’s core business.
  3. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  4. Portfolio analysis.
  5. Cost containment.
  6. Human resources development.
  7. Motivation and commitment.

Make Goal Setting a Reality:

  1. Start at the top.
  2. Adopt a policy of strategic planning.
  3. Strategic goals and objectives must filter downward throughout all the organization.
  4. Training is vital.
  5. Continual follow-up, refinement and new goal setting must ensue.
  6. Programs must be competent, effective and benchmarked.
  7. A corporate culture must foster all goal setting, policies, practices and procedures.

Priorities:

  1. Focus on important goals.
  2. Make goals realistic, simple and attainable.
  3. Reward risk takers.
  4. Recognize that trade-offs must be made.
  5. Goals release energy.
  6. Information leads to dissemination, leading to teaching-training, leading to insight, leading to understanding, leading to knowledge, leading to wisdom.
  7. View goals as long-term, rather than short-term.

Rules for Budgeting-Planning:

  1. Use indicators and indices wherever they can be used.
  2. Use common indicators where categories are similar, and use special indicators for special jobs.
  3. Let your people participate in devising the indicators.
  4. Make all indicators meaningful, and retest them periodically.
  5. Use past results as only one indicator for the future.
  6. Have a reason for setting all indicators in place.
  7. Indicators are not ends in themselves… only a means of getting where the organization needs to go. Indicators must promote action. Discard those that stifle action.

Developmental Discipline:

  1. Discipline at work is accepted, for the most part, voluntarily. If not voluntarily accepted, it is not legitimate.
  2. Discipline is a shaper of behavior, not a punishment.
  3. The past provides useful insights into behavior, but it is not the only criteria to be used.

Applying Developmental Discipline:

  1. Rules and regulations must be known by all employees.
  2. Disciplinary action should occur as close to the time of violation as possible.
  3. The accused person must be presented with the facts and the source of the facts.
  4. The specific rule that was broken must be stated.
  5. The reason for the rule being enacted should be stated.
  6. The accused person must be asked if he-she agrees with the facts, as stated. If the reply is affirmative, he-she should justify the behavior.
  7. Corrective action should be discussed in positive and pro-active terms.

Ways in Which Goals Improve Effectiveness:

  1. Defines effectiveness as the increase in value of people and their activities as resources.
  2. Recognizes that humans are achievement and success creatures.
  3. Goals infuse meaning into work and work into other aspects of life. Life is fully lived when it has meaning.
  4. One cannot succeed without definitions of success. One must expect something to achieve success.
  5. Failure is inevitable and is the best learning curve for success.
  6. One’s goals start from within, not from work situations. The goal-oriented person adapts to the work environments.
  7. Collaborations with other people create success. One cannot be successful alone or working in a vacuum.
  8. One is always dependent upon other people, and other people are dependent upon you.
  9. Commitments must be made to other people.
  10. One must view the future and change as affirmative, in order to succeed.
  11. Knowledge of results is a powerful force in growing and learning.
  12. Without goals, one cannot operate under self-control.
  13. Objectives under one’s own responsibility helps one to identify with the objectives of the larger organization of which he-she is a part. Sense of belonging is enhanced.
  14. Achieving goals which one set and to which one commits enhances a person’s sense of adequacy.
  15. People who set and are striving to achieve goals together have a sense of belonging, a major motivator for humanity.
  16. Because standards are spelled out, one knows what is expected. The main reason why people do not perform is that they do not know what is expected of them.
  17. Through goal setting and achievement, one becomes actualized.
  18. Goal setting creates a power of one’s life…especially the part that relates to work.
  19. With goals, one can be a winner. Without goals, one never really succeeds… he or she merely averts-survives the latest crisis.

About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

The Big Picture of Business – Planning and Budgeting in Downsized Times

Getting the funds that you need from tight fisted management is an ongoing process. Cash outlays are justifiable either by dollars they bring in or dollars they stand to save for the organization. Cash outlays are always risks. Justify your risks in proportion to riskier ones they have previously funded. Validate your worth to the overall company operation.

Under the rules of supply chain dynamics, one must study your supplier relationships, formalize a plan of outsourcing and develop collaborations.

Methods of changing the way that you go for funds include:

  • Take money with you. Show returns or savings on previous appropriations.
  • Position your request as an investment, not a cost.
  • Sell management-clients on acquiring more returns on their investments, not just on making further investments.
  • Be visible when funds are flowing.
  • Reduce management’s risk in doing business with you.
  • Be a consistent producer of profit-improving outcomes, not just a spotty or hit-and-miss producer.

Corporate management has three alternatives for funding every department: (1) Must fund. (2) May or may not fund. (3) Will not fund. The three horsemen of funding are: (1) How much. (2) How soon. (3) How sure.

These are ways to advance your funding process:

  • Put money in management’s pockets.
  • Get to the front of the line for funding requests.
  • Acquire an upper-management mindset.
  • Condense the funding cycle.
  • Become top management’s partner in efficiency of operations.

Base Budgets on Value… Not on Cost

1. Readily measurable values:

  • Time and cost of product development-service delivery cycles.
  • Reject, rework and make-good rates.
  • Downtime rates and meantime between downtimes.
  • Meantime between billings and collections.
  • Product-service movement at business-to-business levels.
  • Product-service movement at retail levels.
  • Product-service movement in the aftermarket (resales, repeat business, referrals, followup engagements).

2. Values in terms of savings:

  • Time and motion savings.
  • Inventory costs.
  • Speed of order entry.

3. Values in terms of efficiencies:

  • Meantime between new product introductions.
  • Forecast accuracy, compared to actual results.
  • Speed, accuracy and efficiency of project fulfillment.
  • Productivity gained.
  • Continuous quality improvement within your own operation.

4. Values benefiting other aspects of the company operation:

  • Quality improved on behalf of the overall organization.
  • Creative new ideas generated.
  • Empowerment of employees and colleagues to do better jobs.
  • Information learned.
  • Applications of your work toward other departments’ objectives.
  • Satisfaction in your service elevated.
  • Voiced-written confidence, recognition, referrals, endorsements, etc.
  • Capabilities enhanced to work within the total organization.
  • Reflections upon the organization’s Big Picture.
  • Contributions toward the organization’s Big Picture (corporate vision).

7 Steps Toward Getting Your Budgets Accepted More Readily:

  1. Commitment toward strategic planning for your function-department-company.
  2. Know your values.
  3. Refine your values.
  4. Control your values.
  5. Add value via internal services.
  6. Take ownership of your values.
  7. Continue raising the bar on values.

7 Stages in Making a Case for Business Funding:

  1. Link to a strategic business objective.
  2. Diagnose a competitively disadvantaging problem or an unrealized opportunity for competitive advantage.
  3. Prescribe a more competitively advantaged outcome.
  4. Cost the benefits of the improved cash flows and diagram the improved work flows that contribute to them.
  5. Team the project.
  6. Maintain accountability and communications toward top management.
  7. Contribute to the organization’s Big Picture.

Reasons for Goal Setting:

  1. Human beings live to attract goals.
  2. Organizations get people caught in activity traps… unless managers periodically pull back and reassess in terms of goals.
  3. Managers lose sight of their employees’ goals. Employees work hard, rather than productively. Mutually agreed-upon goals are vital.
  4. People caught in activity traps shrink, rather than grow, as human beings. Hard work that produces failures yields apathy, inertia and loss of self-esteem. People become demeaned or diminished as human beings when their work proves meaningless. Realistic goals can curb this from happening.
  5. Failure can stem from either non-achievement of goals or never knowing what they were. The tragedy is both economic and humanistic. Unclear objectives produce more failures than incompetence, bad work, bad luck or misdirected work.
  6. When people know and have helped set their goals, their performance improves. The best motivator is knowing what is expected and analyzing one’s one performance relative to mutually agreed-upon criteria.
  7. Goal attainment leads to ethical behavior. The more that an organization is worth, the more worthy it becomes.
  8. Most management subsystems succeed or fail according to the clarity of goals of the overall organization.

How to Find Goals:

  1. Examine problems.
  2. Study the organization’s core business.
  3. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  4. Portfolio analysis.
  5. Cost containment.
  6. Human resources development.
  7. Motivation and Commitment.

Make Goal Setting a Reality:

  1. Start at the top.
  2. Adopt a policy of strategic planning.
  3. Strategic goals and objectives must filter downward throughout all the organization.
  4. Training is vital.
  5. Continual followup, refinement and new goal setting must ensue.
  6. Programs must be competent, effective and benchmarked.
  7. A corporate culture must foster all goal setting, policies, practices and procedures.

Priorities:

  1. Focus on important goals.
  2. Make goals realistic, simple and attainable.
  3. Reward risk takers.
  4. Recognize that trade-offs must be made.
  5. Goals release energy.
  6. Information leads to dissemination, leading to teaching-training, leading to insight, leading to understanding, leading to knowledge, leading to wisdom.
  7. View goals as long-term, rather than short-term.

Rules for Budgeting-Planning:

  1. Use indicators and indices wherever they can be used.
  2. Use common indicators where categories are similar, and use special indicators for special jobs.
  3. Let your people participate in devising the indicators.
  4. Make all indicators meaningful, and retest them periodically.
  5. Use past results as only one indicator for the future.
  6. Have a reason for setting all indicators in place.
  7. Indicators are not ends in themselves…only a means of getting where the organization needs to go.
  8. Indicators must promote action. Discard those that stifle action.

Developmental Discipline:

  1. Discipline at work is accepted, for the most part, voluntarily. If not voluntarily accepted, it is not legitimate.
  2. Discipline is a shaper of behavior, not a punishment.
  3. The past provides useful insights into behavior, but it is not the only criteria to be used.

Applying Developmental Discipline:

  1. Rules and regulations must be known by all employees.
  2. Disciplinary action should occur as close to the time of violation as possible.
  3. The accused person must be presented with the facts and the source of the facts.
  4. The specific rule that was broken must be stated.
  5. The reason for the rule being enacted should be stated.
  6. The accused person must be asked if he-she agrees with the facts, as stated. If the reply is affirmative, he-she should justify the behavior.
  7. Corrective action should be discussed in positive and pro-active terms.

Ways in Which Goals Improve Effectiveness:

  1. Defines effectiveness as the increase in value of people and their activities as resources.
  2. Recognizes that humans are achievement and success creatures.
  3. Goals infuse meaning into work and work into other aspects of life. Life is fully lived when it has meaning.
  4. One cannot succeed without definitions of success. One must expect something to achieve success.
  5. Failure is inevitable and is the best learning curve for success.
  6. One’s goals start from within, not from work situations. The goal-oriented person adapts to the work environments.
  7. Collaborations with other people create success. One cannot be successful alone or working in a vacuum.
  8. One is always dependent upon other people, and other people are dependent upon you.
  9. Commitments must be made to other people.
  10. One must view the future and change as affirmative, in order to succeed.
  11. Knowledge of results is a powerful force in growing and learning.
  12. Without goals, one cannot operate under self-control.
  13. Objectives under one’s own responsibility helps one to identify with the objectives of the larger organization of which he-she is a part. Sense of belonging is enhanced.
  14. Achieving goals which one set and to which one commits enhances a person’s sense of adequacy.
  15. People who set and are striving to achieve goals together have a sense of belonging, a major motivator for humanity.
  16. Because standards are spelled out, one knows what is expected. The main reason why people do not perform is that they do not know what is expected of them.
  17. Through goal setting and achievement, one becomes actualized.
  18. Goal setting creates a power of one’s life…especially the part that relates to work.
  19. With goals, one can be a winner. Without goals, one never really succeeds…he-she merely averts-survives the latest crisis.

About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.