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StrategyDriven Expert Contributor Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business: Leadership for the New Order of Business Part 1

Just as companies have books of business and corporate cultures, so do individuals, who in turn populate and influence organizations. Last month, there were two of my columns on defining and recognizing what contributes to a Body of Work. The first used the analogies Fine, Aged Cheese and Valuable Antiques. The second looked through the analogies and focused upon business strategies and methodologies.

I’m taking the same two-phase approach this month. This column looks through the prism of music and salutes the famed composer Burt Bacharach as the analogy for a fine, rich and definitive Body of Work. Next week’s follow-up takes it back to business and includes most of the great lessons of life that I successfully learned and applied.

At the beginning of my career, I was a radio DJ. I started in 1958, a golden period for music. Because Payola was looming as an issue in our industry, we were required to keep logs of the songs that were played, containing the labels on which they appeared, the names of the composers and other information. In today’s industry, that would all be on spreadsheets. However, the manual writing of spreadsheets gave us the chance to digest and learn from the information, developing the skills to better program for our audience. To this day, I can look at the label of a record and, judging by the serial number, can tell you its date of release.

A bunch of records were in the Top 40 at that time: ‘Magic Moments’ by Perry Como, ‘Story of My Life’ by Marty Robbins, ‘The Blob’ by the Five Blobs, ‘Another Time Another Place’ by Patti Page and ‘Hot Spell’ by Margaret Whiting. I zeroed into the fact that the music composer of all these diverse hits was Burt Bacharach, though the lyricists were different names.

It occurred to me that this was a talent to watch, as I was already familiar with established composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others. I sensed early-on that Bacharach would belong in that upper echelon on Tin Pan Alley icons. Concurrently, I became familiar with the work of other young emerging music composers, such as Carole King, Buddy Holly, Paul Anka, Barry Mann, Neil Sedaka, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Throughout the 1960’s, the music of Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David was everywhere. In the rock era, there were still hits and radio airplay for easy listening music, ballads, movie title songs and the like. The playlists were balanced and gave the public a full array of musical styles.

One could spot a Bacharach tune because it had a definable style. Bacharach himself played piano on and conducted many of the important hits. His arrangements fit the performers and needs of each piece. Yet, the hits had identifiable traits of a Bacharach production. Many talented artists wanted to record his songs, with his arrangements. The public sought out recordings with his hits. All of that represents Body of Work for a composer.

Through the 1960’s, Bacharach broadened and experimented in creative directions. There was a Broadway show, a TV musical revue, movie soundtracks and movie tie-in tunes. He hosted TV specials and performed concerts of his music.

In the decades of the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s, newer fans and younger generations kept discovering Burt Bacharach. His old songs spoke to them, were updated and re-recorded. He collaborated with other musical talents (Elvis Costello, Carole Bayer Sager and James Ingram). Every decade, he kept getting rediscovered and re-recorded. There were tribute concerts and retrospectives. The Body of Work stood the test of time and appealed to wider audiences.

With the renewed interest in Burt Bacharach came the reissues of recordings. With the popularity of CDs came the retrospectives of his early work. Being a Bacharach fan, I acquired the compilations and fell in love with a whole new earlier Body of Work.

There were songs that I had played on the radio but had not realized that they were by Burt Bacharach. These included ‘You’re Following Me’ by Perry Como, ‘Be True to Yourself’ by Bobby Vee, ‘Keep Me in Mind’ by Patti Page, ‘Heavenly’ by Johnny Mathis, ‘Take Me to Your Ladder’ by Buddy Clinton, ‘Along Came Joe’ by Merv Griffin, ‘Mexican Divorce’ by The Drifters, ‘The Night That Heaven Fell’ by Tony Bennett, ‘Blue on Blue’ by Bobby Vinton and ‘Don’t You Believe It’ by Andy Williams.

Then came the motherlode. I started discovering all those songs from Bacharach’s early Body of Work that I had never heard before. As a Bacharach fan since 1958, I found myself in the same company as the younger music fans who have discovered his work and found relevance to their contemporary lives.

My own personal favorites from these compilations (highly recommended that you hear, buy and download) include:

  • ‘I Looked For You’ by Charlie Gracie.
  • ‘Too Late To Worry’ by Babs Tino and Richard Anthony.
  • ‘Long Day, Short Night’ by The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick and Dawn Penn.
  • ‘With Open Arms’ by Jane Morgan
  • ‘Sittin’ in a Treehouse’ by Marty Robbins
  • ‘The Answer to Everything’ by Sam Fletcher
  • ‘Thirty Miles of Railroad Track’ by the Hammond Brothers

What I found in these musical gems was magical. Many of those songs stood on their own merits, serving the needs of the performers at the time. They served as building blocks for what became the definitive Bacharach sound.

That is the way that I am with business wisdom. I continually dust off old chestnuts and reapply them for clients, in my books, through my speeches and in sharing with mentees. The case studies become the substance of what we provide future clients. We benefit from going back and learning from our own early Body of Work, assuming that we strategized our career to be a long-term thing, as Burt Bacharach did.

Everything we are in business stems from what we’ve been taught or not taught to date. A career is all about devoting resources to amplifying talents and abilities, with relevancy toward a viable end result. Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function.

I’ll close by adding business analogies to some Burt Bacharach song hits:

  • ‘A House Is Not a Home’ – Organizations do not come with corporate cultures. They have to be nurtured. That’s the subject of Chapter 6 in my book, The Business Tree.
  • ‘Walk On By’ – Just because it is available business does not mean it is the best available. Go beyond the low-hanging fruit.
  • ‘There’s Always Something There to Remind Me’ – Go back through your old files. Uncover what inspired you in the first place. It becomes the beacon toward your future.
  • ‘Errand of Mercy’ – People can speak on your behalf and should be encouraged to do so. That does not absolve you from authoritatively stating your own case.
  • ‘They Long To Be Close To You’ – Success breeds more success. That signals the need to weed out those who will take unfair advantage. Some networkers are users.
  • ‘Odds and Ends of a Beautiful Love Affair’ – Go back and examine your company’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.
  • ‘What the World Needs Now’ – Ethics and social responsibility must be parts of the business strategy.
  • ‘Knowing When to Leave’ – The way that we end business relationships is just as important as the manner in which they begin.
  • ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ – Branding is NOT strategy. Every way in which a company markets must be commensurate and fit under definable business strategies.
  • ‘That’s Not the Answer’ – When consultants peddle ‘solutions,’ that’s a vendor term for what they have to sell. Companies need to determine what they, and real business advisers will get them to that awareness.
  • ‘There Goes the Forgotten Man’ – If someone is identified by one job, then that’s not a Body of Work.
  • ‘Any Day Now’ – Perseverance pays off. That’s how businesses survive and go to the next plateau.
  • ‘My Little Red Book’ – Having a network of friends and resources is important.
  • ‘The Windows of the World’ – We are a global economy and must learn the business protocols of others. Going global is essential, and there are nuances to its effectiveness.
  • ‘Arthur’s Theme, Best That You Can Do’ – Employees should be encouraged to be their best. Empowered work teams are more valuable to the organization. Effective leaders encourage people to be their best, and it will benefit the company. That’s the subject of Chapter 7 in my book, The Business Tree.
  • ‘Living Together, Growing Together’ – Collaborations, partnering and joint-venturing are the most important new trend in business. That’s the subject of Chapter 8 in my book, The Business Tree.
  • ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ – Category 6 on my Business Tree looks at forces outside your company that can profoundly affect the climate in which you do business. Learn how to identify and nurture your stakeholders.
  • ‘Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets’ – We learn three times more from failure than success. Learning from failures is how successful strategies are built. That’s the subject of Chapter 9 in my book, The Business Tree.
  • ‘Overnight Success’ – Learn to go the distance. Most overnight successes reflect many years of dues-paying.
  • ‘Turn On Your Heartlight’ – When the company functions at its best, then it continues setting higher sites. Organizations in the right business for the right reasons tend to practice continuous quality improvement. That’s the subject of Chapter 10 in my book, The Business Tree.

A rich and sustaining Body of Work results from a greater business commitment and heightened self-awareness. None of us can escape those pervasive influences that have affected our lives, including music and the messages contained in songs. Like sponges, we absorbed the information, giving us views of life that have helped mold our business and personal relationships.


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.

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business Article

The Big Picture of Business – Fine Wine, Aged Cheese and Valuable Antiques: Part II

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleThe successful professional person takes the time and appropriates the resources to develop a Body of Work, rather than just hold jobs. Business is approached as a lifetime track record of accomplishments. This sophisticated and vital category includes:

  • Building a clear, cohesive, operational Vision for the individual.
  • Conceptualizing a specific action plan to be effective on all branches of the tree.
  • Facilitating programs where progress is measured and maintained.
  • Attentiveness to company obligations.
  • Maintaining a well-earned reputation.
  • Contributing much to the economy and communities in which one lives and works.
  • Taking concepts (quality management, ethics, outside-the-box thinking) out of the esoteric and into daily operation.
  • Recommending new ideas and business practices which surpass the niches of others.

The Big Picture provides leadership for progress, rather than following along. The successful person develops and champions the tools to change. The quest is to manage change, rather than falling the victim of it.

Body of Work encompasses leadership development, mentoring and creative ways of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change, rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Executives’ value to organizations, employees, customers, influential constituencies and ascendancy to management is a direct reflection of mastering the life skills.

Organizations are populated with individuals who possess a plethora of education, skills and talents. Companies are comprised of human beings, who bring their culturalization (or lack of it) to the job. Thus, they set the pace for the tree (company) in question.

Business professionals are the sum of their life experiences. People, like organizations, develop, grow and thrive. If not, they are of little market value in a career.

Core Values Worksheet: Criteria for Basing Your Professional Vision

  1. Core Industry… The Business You’re In.
  2. Rendering the Service… Administering Your Work.
  3. Accountability… Qualities with Which You Work.
  4. Your Relationships-Contributions to Other People… Colleagues, Stakeholders.
  5. Professional-Leadership Development… Your Path to the Future.
  6. Your Contributions to the Organization’s Overall Goals… Your Place in its Big Picture.
  7. Body of Work… Your Accomplishments to Date vs. Anticipated Future Output.

Characteristics of a Top Professional:

  • Understands that careers evolve.
  • Prepares for the unexpected turns and benefit from them, rather than becoming the victim of them.
  • Realizes there are no quick fixes.
  • Finds a truthful blend of perception and reality… with sturdy emphasis upon substance, rather than style.
  • Has grown as a person and as a professional… and quests for more enlightenment.
  • Has succeeded and failed… and has learned from both.
  • Was a good ‘will be,’ taking enough time in early career years to steadily blossom… realizing that ‘fine wine’ status wouldn’t come quickly.
  • Has paid dues… and knows that, as the years go by, one’s dues paying accelerates, rather than decreases.

Rising Stars

Here are some characteristics of young people (rising stars) will make it as professionals and business leaders:

  • Act as though they will one day be management.
  • Think as a manager, not as a worker.
  • Learn and do the things it will take to assume management responsibility.
  • Be mentored by others.
  • Act as a mentor to still others.
  • Don’t expect status overnight.
  • Measure their output and expect to be measured as a profit center to the company.
  • Learn to pace…and be in the chosen career for the longrun.
  • Don’t expect that someone else will be the rescuer or enable you to cut corners in the path toward artificial success.
  • Learn from failures, reframing them as opportunities.
  • Learn to expect, predict, understand and relish success.
  • Behave as a gracious winner.
  • Acquire visionary perception.
  • Study and utilize marketing and business development techniques.
  • Contribute to the bottom line… directly and indirectly.
  • Offer value-added service.
  • Never stop paying dues… and see this continuum as ‘continuous quality improvement.’
  • Study and comprehend the subtleties of life.
  • Never stop learning, growing and doing. In short, never stop!

And, If They Don’t…

Here are characteristics of ‘wanna-be’s’ who do not choose to view their apprenticeships as a mode to grow, viewing it as a burden or unnecessary time. They think the dues paying process is for others, never themselves. Such persons will undoubtedly become stuck in the land of ‘never-gonna-be’ because they:

  • Perennially want the status that others have.
  • Will not go the distance or see their career as a longterm set of challenges.
  • Seek to become a carbon copy of someone else.
  • Fail to do adequate research into their industry and its business challenges.
  • Fail to pay sufficient dues.
  • Want a job, not a career.
  • Have poor people skills… and fail to improve them.
  • Show an unwillingness to learn beyond just the sheepskin on the wall.
  • Fail to show proper respect to their elders.
  • Assume they’re a senior member of the profession when they never mastered being an effective junior, let alone mastering the middle career years.
  • Constantly whine and say they are trying when they are not.
  • Use, abuse and knowingly waste the time of others.
  • Always have an excuse.
  • Skillfully learn to cover tracks and justify excuses.
  • Contend that it’s always someone else’s fault.
  • Maintain that ‘I can do that’ mentality… challenging seasoned professionals.
  • Don’t learn how to be a joiner.
  • Cannot ascend as a leader.
  • Always looking somewhere else, without appreciating the opportunities at hand.

Differences Between a Career and a Job

  • Possession and nurturing of a dream.
  • An interest in pursuing and achieving, versus just doing something.
  • 20 hours a week.
  • Not knowing what a coffee break is.
  • Working smarter hours, not necessarily longer.
  • A career is not something that one retires from or puts on the shelf temporarily.
  • Thinking like the boss, whether or not you are it at this present position.
  • Money is not the dominant driving influence.
  • Training and professional development are rewards… not punishments.
  • The more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know…and proceed to learn.

Truisms of a Career… and Life:

  • Whatever measure you give will be the measure that you get back.
  • There are no free lunches in life.
  • The joy is in the journey, not in the final destination.
  • The best destinations are not pre-determined in the beginning, but they evolve out of circumstances.
  • Circumstances can be strategized, for maximum effectiveness.
  • You gotta give to get.
  • Getting and having are not the same thing.
  • One cannot live entirely through work.
  • One doesn’t just work to live.
  • As an integrated process of life skills, career has its place.
  • A body of work doesn’t just happen. It’s the culmination of a thoughtful, dedicated process… carefully strategized from some point forward.
  • The objective is to begin that strategizing point sooner rather than later.

The Moment of Truth

There comes a point when the pieces fit. One becomes fully actualized and is able to approach their life’s Body of Work. That moment comes after years of trial and error, experiences, insights, successes and failures.

Young people think that they can ‘have it all’ overnight. They don’t know how much they don’t know. Many aren’t willing to pay sufficient dues to ‘get there.’

As one matures, survives, life becomes a giant reflection. We appreciate the journey because we understand it much better. We know where we’ve gone because we know the twists and turns in the road there. Nobody, including ourselves, could have predicted every curve along the way.

However, some basic tenets charted our course. To understand those tenets is to make full value out of the years ahead. The best is usually yet to come.

Your output should be greater than the sum of your inputs. This is accomplished by reviewing the lessons of life, their contexts, their significances, their accountabilities, their shortcomings and their path in charting your future.

Alas, all of us practice Futurism. It is not an esoteric concept. It is a potpourri of where we’ve been, why we’ve done well and what we’re going to do about the lessons learned. That’s the wholistic, common-sense approach to Futurism.


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.

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business Article

The Big Picture of Business – Fine Wine, Aged Cheese and Valuable Antiques: Part I

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleA professional’s career and their collected Body of Work encompass time, energy, resources, perseverance and lots of commitment in order to produce. This holds true for any company, institution and for any person.

The multiple parts of a successful company require care, attention, grooming and benchmarking. All branches must interact and contribute to the base of the organization. The base waters and feeds every part of the tree.

There are three key ingredients in developing deep leadership roots. Long-term success for the company and a healthy career for the individual are attributable to:

  1. The manner in which an organization or professional lives and conducts business on a daily basis. I symbolize this with the analogy Fine Wine.
  2. The evolution, education, enrichment, professional development, training and life experiences that one amasses. This continuum is symbolized by the analogy Aged Cheese.
  3. What of value is really accomplished and left behind. This shows that the business or person actually existed and contributed meaningfully to society, rather than just filling time and space on this earth. This is symbolized by the analogy Valuable Antiques.

Wine

Just because it is a bottled alcoholic beverage doesn’t mean that it contains great wine. In the marketplace, there exist large quantities of fair wine, some bad wine and some good wine. There’s very little great wine.

Defining what is ‘good’ is a matter of judgment, perspective and prejudice. When one assigns the term ‘great,’ then the wine (used as an analogy for one’s daily process of living and working) takes on rare proportions.

The general public is not exposed to the wine vineyard process and, thus, is not familiar with the characteristics of that special reserve:

  • A good crop of grapes from which to draw.
  • Skilled processes in picking and processing the grapes.
  • Knowledge in the making of wine.
  • Care for the industry, the product and the process (a defined Vision).
  • Skilled technicians, who transfer the intent of the wine maker into the bottle.
  • Packaging, distribution and marketing of the product.
  • Reputation of the winery, steadily built and carefully preserved.
  • An informed clientele, with the ability to appreciate and enjoy the wine.
  • The right settings in which to showcase the product.
  • A body of pleasurable and memorable experiences from which customers will build brand loyalty.
  • A reinforced manufacturing process that assures consistency in all areas.
  • Stated, refined strategies for the winery to remain in business, producing a quality product and maintaining clientele appreciation.

Cheese

We all eat and enjoy cheese, in some form. If it’s a brand or flavor we recognize, we think it’s good. When cheese is part of a favorite recipe, then it’s an essential ingredient, though we might not eat it by itself.

The process of creating and curing the cheese (used as an analogy for the process of sharpening and amassing life and professional skills) is both an art and a science.

When it comes to cheese, people generally uphold these constants:

  • Cheese is made from milk.
  • It is manufactured in various places, utilizing various processes.
  • Some sources of cheese making (Switzerland, Wisconsin) are acknowledged for their expertise.
  • Cheese is wrapped and packaged in various forms: sliced, chunks, rounds, barrels.
  • Sometimes, cheese is processed, liquified, smoked, whipped, grated or otherwise reconfigured.
  • Cheese is bought in stores where we regularly trade.
  • It comes from packages that are neatly wrapped and arranged for eye appeal in a clean, well-lit and suitably refrigerated dairy case.
  • Price is often a deciding factor in buying. Most people buy the cheapest brands.
  • The flavor of cheese we buy depends upon the use we have for it…be it as an appetizer, as an ingredient in an ensemble dish, as a salad enhancer or just to munch on.
  • Most often, we mix the cheese with something else.
  • Various styles of cheese are often served at a time, or mixed into recipes.
  • If it tastes good, we consume it again. If not, we will not likely give that flavor or brand another try.
  • If guests like it, we will serve it again. If not, their preferences will influence ours, and, thus, the cheese will not reappear.
  • If it is really good, we refer it to others…sometimes giving it as a gift.
  • The better it appears to be (marketing, wrapping, price, place of purchase) affects our viewpoint on its quality.
  • It is often served with wine, sometimes on antique trays or dishes.

Antiques

Antiques are rare, interesting, fanciful and out of the ordinary. They tend to stimulate affection, admiration and appreciation. They are generally thought of as joyful, artistic and quality-reflecting possessions which are in rare supply.

Everyone owns and buys possessions, including clothing, equipment, furniture and household items. A small percentage of the public views unique versions of these same items as antiques, creating a preferred place for them in their lives.

Antiques are perceived in different manners. The substance of antiques (used as an analogy for what one does-accomplishes with his-her life and organization) is that of the creator, not the seller or the collector.

Among the truisms of antiques are:

  • Their quality and workmanship is set by the creator, with inspiration from diverse sources.
  • Their market value is set by the seller, who often is an appreciator or, at the least, has a profit motive.
  • Their purchase price is set by the buyer, who also believes that getting a bargain enhances the value of the antique.
  • The collector appreciates collectibles as a whole and their own specialties in particular.
  • The collector appreciates those who appreciate.
  • As one attaches value to the unique, one finds value in other things around them.
  • Appreciation for value becomes a quality of life ingredient.
  • Definitions of antiques vary from collector to collector, depending upon interest. To one, it may be a rare painting. To another, it is custom-made furniture. To still another, it may be a Roy Rogers wristwatch, one of Elvis Presley’s scarves or a Partridge Family lunchbox.
  • Seeking out new and unique places to find antiques is great fun, and one seeks to include friends in the quest.
  • The hunt is worth as much or more than the actual find.
  • As friends take up sub-specialties in collecting and preserving, we support their passions and interests.
  • Once one gets acclimated toward antiques, one does not ‘go back.’ As an interest, it becomes a ‘way of life.’
  • The nature of value continually changes and evolves.

Nourishing a Body of Work (Antique)

No company or individual sets out to create an antique (lifelong Body of Work). It just works out that way, depending upon such factors as:

  • The crafting artist, as a person and a professional.
  • The arsenal of tools which the creator has at hand.
  • Combinations of experiences, training and assimilation which were gleaned by the artist.
  • Unexpected twists, turns and situations which the craftor saw and seized upon.
  • Vision for the project, from concept through execution.
  • Sets of standards, with mediocrity not a rung on the ladder.
  • An innate sense of perspective, with the reality that no such thing as perfection exists.
  • Marketplace sensitive considered in the overall project, but not pandored to.
  • Applications for the concept and durability of the product for the long-run.

The phenomena of people liking and admiring antiques, years after their creation, is like a successful wine and cheese party. But, this isn’t why the wine and cheese were made.

There are many forces and outside influences who set standards for quality. Normally, it’s the marketplace. Who should be the arbitrator and benchmark? You should. Your company will. Your family must.

7 Plateaus of Professionalism:

  1. Learning and Growing. Develop resources, skills and talents.
  2. Early Accomplishments. Learn what works and why. Incorporate your own successes into the organization’s portfolio of achievements.
  3. Observe Lack of Professionalism in Others. Commit to sets of standards as to role, job, responsibilities, relationships. Take stands against mediocrity, sloppiness, poor work and low quality. Learn about the culture and mission of organizations.
  4. Commitment to Career. Learn what constitutes excellence, and pursue it for the long-term. Enjoy well earned successes, sharing professional techniques with others.
  5. Seasoning. Refining career with several levels of achievement, honors, recognition. Learn about planning, tactics, organizational development, systems improvement. Active decision maker, able to take risks.
  6. Mentor-Leader-Advocate-Motivator. Finely develop skills in every aspect of the organization, beyond the scope of professional training. Amplify upon philosophies of others. Mentoring, creating and leading have become the primary emphasis for your career.
  7. Beyond the Level of Professional. Never stop paying dues, learning and growing professionally. Develop and share own philosophies. Long-term track record, unlike anything accomplished by any other individual…all contributing toward organizational philosophy, purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics, long-term growth.

Criteria for Assessing and Nurturing Professionalism

Fine Wine

  1. Core Values
    • Ethics
    • Professionalism
    • Quality
  2. Work with Colleagues
    • People Skills
    • Executive-Leadership Abilities
    • Collaborative Team Experience
    • References

Aged Cheese

  1. Expertise
    • Talents, Skills
    • Education and Training
    • Resume
    • Industries Served
  2. Business
    • Marketplace Understanding
    • Business Savvy

Valuable Antiques

  1. Track Record, Experience
    • Accomplishments
    • Case Studies
    • Professional Reputation
  2. Body of Knowledge
    • Original Ideas, Concepts
    • Self-Created Expertise
    • Published Materials
  3. Vision
    • Uniqueness
    • Creativity
    • Value-Added Contributions
    • Substance

Continue to part 2…


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.

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business Article

The Big Picture of Business – Think Tanks to Strategize

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleThe biggest problem with business, in a one-sentence capsule, is:

People exhibit misplaced priorities and impatience… seeking profit and power, possessing unrealistic views of purpose, and not fully willing to do the things necessary to sustain orderly growth and long-term success.

What organizations and individuals started out to become and what we’ve evolved into being are decidedly different things. The path toward progress takes many turns, expected and unexpected. How we evolve reflects the teachings, experiences and instincts which are not part of formal education.

Pressures continue and accelerate for companies to stay in operation, become competitive, keep ahead of the marketplace and perform quality work. Businesses of all sizes are besieged with opportunities, competing information sources and large amounts of uncertainty.

Executives are not fully prepared to handle challenges of the moment, much less to begin developing Big Picture thinking. Seasoned executives face burnout daily. Much of the workforce is in transition, with unclear anchoring of where they’ve been and where they could head. Young and mid-level workers do not really know what it takes to succeed long-term and are, for the most part, impaired from optimum achievement.

Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function. The same analogies apply to personal lives. Greater business awareness and heightened self awareness are compatible and part of a holistic journey of growth.

I mentor business principals on all their options and the big ideas. I lay the groundwork so they can best utilize the niche consultants. I support all of the others and educate business owners on the best contexts to make consultants most effective.

There are seven levels of strategy retreats and processes in which companies can engage, with #1 being a starting point and #7 being the ultimate outcome:

  1. Information Sharing. What’s new in the marketplace. What the competition is doing. New ways of looking at the core business.
  2. Reacting to a Crisis or Emergency. Responding to crises is a good way to get in the research-planning habit. Preparing for crises helps avert 85% of them.
  3. Niche Review. Some phase of the business requires re-evaluation.
  4. Growth Strategies. How and where to grow. Concepts of orderly growth. Dynamics of growth, in relation to other organizational factors.
  5. Planning for the Future. Planning, vision and strategic direction account for 15% of an organization’s full picture…constituting the trunk and roots of The Business Tree™. The company that does not plan will not achieve staying power.
  6. Visioning. Determining what the organization will become.
  7. Change, Growth. Determine how the organization will get where it needs to go. Creative thinking about new approaches. Develop a true corporate culture.

7 Levels of What Companies Do with Think Tanks:

  1. Don’t understand the concept (confuse it with selling or training).
  2. Hold when the company is at a crossroads.
  3. Realize value and merit.
  4. Want to know and learn more. Eager to hold, assess and apply.
  5. Do something with it. Put findings to good use.
  6. Want to do more and evolve the business to higher plateaus.
  7. Change-Growth. Achieve advantages via knowledge. Make impacts on company future.

What Is a Think Tank:

  • Source of new ideas from outside speaker-presenter (as opposed to a training facilitator).
  • Common sense reminders of things people already know.
  • Inspiration to try new things and be successful.
  • Injecting Big Picture thinking into each part of the organization, macro over the micro.
  • Inspires the development of organizational Vision.
  • Realistic views or company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Study of external forces that can hamper your ability to do business.
  • Mentorship and leadership development.
  • Outside-the-box approaches to old problems.
  • Creative learning that helps executives think new ways.
  • Ways to understand the organization’s people (its best resource) better.
  • Common sense updating of old principles, with Futuristic viewpoints.
  • Puts the demands of the moment into perspective.
  • Takes Futurism out of the esoteric and into cohesive applicability.
  • Converts learning to knowledge…and knowledge to wisdom.

What a Think Tank is NOT… and Should Not Be Confused with Being:

  • Training. Political fund raising.
  • Sales or marketing support. Facilitated gripe session.
  • Bean counter approaches to processes. Ivory Tower academic exercise.
  • Internally conducted goal-setting workshop. Intellectual elitism.
  • Brokering of ideologies and hidden agendas. Research.

This program will accomplish the following:

  • Help small businesses of any size focus more clearly on their niche, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Apply Big Picture thinking toward all facets of the organization… to reduce costs of companies responding to problems with small-picture treatments.
  • Reduce costly organizational problems with planning on the front end.
  • Provide business owners with a totally different perspective on how they can operate and be more successful.

Visioning is the process where good ideas become something more. Visioning is a catalyst toward long-term evaluation, planning and implementation. Visioning is a jump-off point by which forward-thinking organizations ask: What will we look like in the future? What do we want to become? How will we evolve? Vision is a realistic picture of what is possible.

Organizations will succeed by having, communicating and garnering support for a Shared Vision. Visioning sets the stage for necessary processes, such as growth strategies, re-engineering, training, enhancing shareholder value and organizational development. Without visioning, other functions (marketing, human resources, financial, production, quality control, public relations, etc.) are simply performing band-aid surgery.

The Strategic Plan comes off the shelf and alive into action by being relative to all levels of the organization:

  1. Resource. Equipment, tools, materials, schedules.
  2. Skills-Tasks. Duties, activities, tasks, behaviors, attitudes, contracting, project fulfillment.
  3. Role-Job. Assignments, responsibilities, functions, relationships, accountability.
  4. Systems-Processes. Structure, hiring, control, work design, supervision, decisions.
  5. Strategy. Planning, tactics, organizational development.
  6. Culture-Mission. Values, customs, beliefs, goals, objectives, benchmarking.
  7. Philosophy. Organizational purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics, longterm growth.

Organizational and Business Planning

  • Questions to ask the organization… basis for budgeting.
  • Guidelines for re-examing the business position…criteria and benchmarks.
  • The 10 most common benchmarking mistakes.
  • Guidelines for conducting Strategic Planning.
  • Steps, processes and methodologies encompassed in long-term Strategic Planning.
  • Benefits of Strategic Planning.
  • Big Picture Visioning issues and dynamics.
  • How to make the process productive in the long-run.

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.

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business Article

What Really is The Big Picture of Business

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business Article
 
The biggest problem with business, in a one-sentence capsule, is:

People exhibit misplaced priorities and impatience… seeking profit and power, possessing unrealistic views of purpose, and not fully willing to do the things necessary to sustain orderly growth and long-term success.

What organizations and individuals started out to become and what we’ve evolved into being are decidedly different things. The path toward progress takes many turns, expected and unexpected. How we evolve reflects the teachings, experiences and instincts that are not part of formal education.

Pressures continue and accelerate for companies to stay in operation, become competitive, keep ahead of the marketplace and perform quality work. Businesses of all sizes are besieged with opportunities, competing information sources and large amounts of uncertainty.

Executives are not fully prepared to handle challenges of the moment, much less to begin developing Big Picture thinking. Seasoned executives face burnout daily. Much of the workforce is in transition, with unclear anchoring of where they’ve been and where they could head. Young and mid-level workers do not really know what it takes to succeed long-term and are, for the most part, impaired from optimum achievement.

Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function. The same analogies apply to personal lives. Greater business awareness and heightened self-awareness are compatible and part of a holistic journey of growth.

The term Big Picture is often used but rarely applied correctly. If one believes vendors and niche consultants, the Big Picture is what their specialty is. It may be: human resources, organizational development, training, technology, sales, marketing, advertising, public relations, coaching or financial management. Few of those have actually written Strategic Plans and do not really comprehend what the Visioning process actually is.

Thus, few in business know how to frame, craft and sustain a Big Picture of business. There are reasons:

  • Niche consultants say that their niche is The Big Picture, and the uninformed accept that.
  • Vested interests have a stake in keeping certain niche consultants in the driver’s seat.
  • Business school education is limited and behind the times.
  • Fear of change forces people to go to extreme lengths to defend their turf.
  • Spin doctors mine the fear and represent the vested interests of niche service providers.
  • People in business are so overwhelmed that they do not know any better.
  • A great many people set up barriers to learning anything more than is what is on their radar.

Businesses usually stop growing because they have failed to make investments for future company success. Rather than plan to grow and follow the plan, they rationalize organizational setbacks, excuse poor service or quality, and avoid change, all the while denying the need for change and avoiding any planning. Too often, they rely upon what worked for them in the past, on buzzwords, and on incomplete strategies. We’ve all seen businesses in which a paralysis creeps in, keeping them from doing anything at all.

A growth plan or strategic plan is essential for any organization that intends to survive and thrive in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Companies need to heed messages from the marketplace telling them of changing market conditions, new global business imperatives, new partnering concepts, recognition of new stakeholders, and other changes outside of their influence that may profoundly affect them.

These are the points at which a company must conduct a planning retreat to assess its own Big Picture and chart the process forward:

The Big Picture

  • The organization is not now what it started out to be.
  • There seems to be a need to change the direction of the organization.
  • No Vision was actually created…the organization just rolled with the flow.
  • Management is concerned that resources are not concentrated on important things.
  • Management of the organization seems tired or complacent.

Growth

  • Management is cautious and uncertain about the company’s future.
  • The company has grown too rapidly.
  • No-growth or slow-growth has occurred.
  • There is a need to step up growth and improve profitability.

People-Productivity

  • Apathy, low productivity and discord are exhibited.
  • Management seeks perspective and needs to be recharged.
  • There is a need to develop better information to help management make better decisions.
  • Individuals are more concerned about their own areas than for the overall organization.

Processes

  • There is a sense that company operations are out of control.
  • Management expresses a need for better internal coordination of company activities.

External-Marketplace

  • External forces threaten the status quo… and open up new opportunities.
  • The environment in which the organization competes is rapidly changing.

Did you ever wonder why some people have good ideas, and others make them succeed profitably?

Would it surprise you to know that one third of your efforts, money and resources will go toward reducing problems in your business this year? And if you don’t tend to issues as they occur, your high costs could multiply as much as six times per year.

Small business owners need all the tools they can get. Big corporations don’t have all the answers. Small businesses, in reality, have more flexibility to do something well and be more successful more quickly.

What Big Picture Growth Strategies Programs Accomplish:

  • Prestige or favorable image… and its benefits.
  • Promotions of products and sales.
  • Good will of the employees.
  • Prevention and solution of labor problems.
  • Fostering the good will of communities in which the company has units.
  • Good will of the stockholders, board of directors, and owners.
  • Overcoming misconceptions and prejudices.
  • Good will of suppliers.
  • Good will of government.
  • Good will of the rest of your industry.
  • Attraction of others into the industry.
  • Ability to attract the best personnel.
  • Education of the public to the purposes and scope of the product.
  • Education of the public to a point of view.
  • Good will of customers (and their friends and colleagues).
  • Seeing that the industry is properly represented in the curricula of schools and colleges.
  • Assisting educators in teaching about the industry.
  • Creating public support for legislative proposals that the industry favors or public opposition to legislation that it opposes.
  • Obtaining public recognition for the social and economic contributions that the industry makes to the nation.
  • Addressing outside interference or competition with the industry.
  • Public understanding of the regulation of the industry by the government, in order to assure equitable regulation.
  • Consumer understanding of how to use the product.

Expected Results:

  • Your service is efficient and excellent, by your standards and by the publics. You are sensitive to the public’s needs, and you are flexible and human in meeting them.
  • Your staff is likeable and competent. They demonstrate initiative and use their best judgment, with authority to make the decisions they should make.
  • You have a good reputation and are awake to community obligations. You contribute much to the economy. ou provide leadership for progress, rather than following along.
  • You always give your customers their money’s worth. Your charges are fair and reasonable.
  • You employ state-of-the-art technology and are in the vanguard of your industry.
  • You provide a good place to work. You offer a promising career and future for people with ideas and initiative. Your people do a day’s work for a day’s pay.
  • The size of your organization is necessary to do the job demanded of you. Your integrity and dependability make the public confident that you will use your size and influence rightly.

Conclusions and Opportunities

Here are 15 sure-fire steps to begin putting this information to immediate use in your business.

  1. Business cannot exist in a vacuum. You must put everything that you produce into a Big Picture context.
  2. Recognize that there is a Big Picture, and be skeptical about niche consultants and vendors who purport that their approach is the only one.
  3. Choose your advisors very carefully. Insist that they benchmark everything they do for you toward a Big Picture of your business.
  4. You must have both a Sales Plan and a Marketing Plan as sub-sets of your Strategic Plan.
  5. Advertising is a process, part of marketing and a cousin of sales. Running an ad here and there does not constitute advertising.
  6. Have concurrent programs in your plan, including direct marketing, sales promotions, advertising, internet presence, specialty advertising, public relations and other marketplace presence.
  7. Running a small business is tough. You cannot be a Lone Ranger. Develop a support system of friends and colleagues. Surrounding yourself with employees and consultants is not enough.
  8. Always think about new products to create.
  9. Never stop changing. Change is 90% positive. Every person and company changes 71% per year anyway. You might as well benefit from it, rather than become a victim of it.
  10. Find ways to measure the success of every new initiative that you adopt.
  11. Use my Business Tree as a way of always looking at the whole of any situation… then at the parts…and back to the whole again.
  12. You never stop paying dues. It doesn’t get easier… yet, creative opportunities create more successes.
  13. Take ownership of planning programs, rather than abdicate them to human resources or accounting people.
  14. Predict the biggest crises that can beset your company. 85% of the time, you’ll prevent them from occurring.
  15. Challenge yourself to succeed by taking a Big Picture look… while others are still thinking and acting small-time. Your biggest resource is a wide scope… and the daring to visualize success and then all of its components.

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.