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The Big Picture of Business: Institutional Reviews Help Public Companies to Learn from the Downturn and Move Forward

An Institutional Review is a look at activities that contribute to an organization’s success and well-being. This transcends a traditional audit and identifies factors that already contribute well to the organization, rather than simply looking for ways to cut, curtail or penalize. It is more than just trimming the fat and criticizing incorrect activities in the organizational structure.

This review is the basis for most elements that will appear in a strategic plan, including the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, actions, challenges, teamwork, change management, commitment, future trends and external forces.

These are the points at which every company must assess its own status 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.
  • 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 the 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.

What a Review Could Include:

Among the components and professional specialties that could be represented in a performance review, per each branch on the Business Tree, include:

  • Branch 1: Core business, core industry.
  • Branch 2: Environmental, safety, IT systems design and computer software, training for computers and technology, architecture, engineering and legal
  • Branch 3: Accounting, banking, investments, financial planning, benefits programs, real estate, fund raising for non-profit organizations and investor relations services for public companies.
  • Branch 4: Training for diversity, team building, professional education and development, motivational and executive development-mentoring. Human resource administration, employee testing, behavioral research, executive search, talent pools, reorganizations, downsizing, executive outplacement, labor issues and negotiating.
  • Branch 5: Sales strategy, sales training, marketing strategy, customer service, advertising, direct marketing, public relations, special events, video production, promotional specialties, graphic design-production and website design-production.
  • Category 6: Business performance reviews, research, quality management programs, government relations, public policy, community relations and re-engineering.
  • Category 7: Corporate strategy, visioning, strategic planning, futurism, thought leader program and emerging business issues.

Expected Results of an Institutional Review:

  • 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. You provide leadership for progress, rather than following along.
  • You always give your customers their money’s worth. Your charges are fair and reasonable.
  • You 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.

What Well-Run Companies 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.
  • Addressing outside interference or competition with the industry.
  • Public understanding of the regulation of the industry by the government, in order to assure equitable treatment.
  • Consumer understanding of how to use the product.

Grounding Factors for Business:

Being stable does not mean that an organization stands still. Upholding traditions does not necessarily mean that one vehemently resists change. Being a family run company does not mean that outside stakeholders do not exist. Lawyers go to school to study the law, not how to become a lawyer and run a legal practice. The same analogy holds true for accountants, engineers, doctors and architects. All are taught professional skills but must absorb along the way the business talents necessary to run their practices.

Authority figures must be effective disciplinarians. They must also be recognizable role models in order to inspire commitment from their team members. The best leaders are adept at the balancing acts of business priorities. Organizations are collections of individuals, team clusters, operating units, departments, management philosophies and ideologies.

To gauge the company’s future direction and avoid roadblocks to success, independent reviews must be conducted. The objective is to benefit from changes, rather than become the victim of them. By spotting trends and recognizing inner strengths of your existing company, you can compete and excel more effectively than without any strategy at all.


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 Podcast Episode 40 – The Big Picture of Business: Learning from the Recession and Moving Forward

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Episode 40 – The Big Picture of Business: Learning from the Recession and Moving Forward explores the actions business leaders can take in order to position their organizations to achieve marketplace success during economic downturns. During our discussion, Hank Moore, Corporate Strategist and author of The Business Tree: Growth Strategies and Tactics for Surviving and Thriving, shares with us his insights and illustrative examples regarding:

  • the underlying causes of ‘The Great Recession
  • why so many organizations are retaining cash
  • actions business leaders should take now to maximize their success in the current market environment
  • the impact the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is having on businesses
  • how business leaders can prepare their organizations to more effectively deal with future economic downturns

Additional Information

In addition to the outstanding insights Hank shares in The Business Tree and this edition of the StrategyDriven Podcast are the resources accessible from his website, www.HankMoore.com.   Hank’s book, The Business Tree, can be purchased by clicking here.

Final Request…

The strength of our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us on iTunes by clicking here. Rating the StrategyDriven Podcast and providing your comments online improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Podcast!


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.

How to Stress-Test Your Strategy

Robert Simons, the Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, explains why management teams must ask themselves tough strategy questions. During this interview, Robert covers:

  • obstacles business leaders face when executing their business strategy
  • why companies need to focus on one primary customer
  • the importance in choosing which among shareholders, customers, or employees are most important to the company’s success
  • how executives should decide which few metrics to focus on
  • key approaches to effectively making tough priority selection decisions

Robert Simons on the StrategyDriven Podcast

Last month, we were privileged to talk with Robert about his new book, Seven Strategy Questions, on the StrategyDriven Podcast. Listen as we explore the seven strategy questions that can help an organization’s leaders identify gaps within their strategy and its execution.

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 57 – An Interview with Robert Simons, author of Seven Strategy Questions

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 57 – An Interview with Robert Simons, author of Seven Strategy Questions explores the seven strategy questions that can help an organization’s leaders identify gaps within their strategy and its execution. By asking and effectively answering these questions, executives and managers gain the insight necessary to better align their organization’s day-to-day operations to the optimal achievement of mission goals; thereby enhancing overall bottom line results. During our discussion, Robert Simons, author of Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution, shares with us his insights regarding:

  • the benefits of routinely asking the right strategy questions
  • the key Seven Strategy Questions and what makes them so important
  • how leaders can formally incorporate the Seven Strategy Questions into their business processes
  • actions executives should take to develop rising managers so that they instinctively ask the Seven Strategy Questions as a part of their internal thought process and the way they interact with their staffs

Additional Information

In addition to the outstanding insights Robert shares in Seven Strategy Questions and this special edition podcast are the resources accessible from his Harvard Business School Working Knowledge website.   Robert’s book, Seven Strategy Questions, can be purchased by clicking here.

Final Request…

The strength of our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us on iTunes by clicking here. Rating the StrategyDriven Podcast and providing your comments online improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Podcast!


About the Author

Robert Simons, author of Seven Strategy Questions, is the Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. For twenty-five years, he has taught accounting, management control, and strategy implementation courses in the Harvard MBA and Executive Education programs. Robert’s research has been published in the Harvard Business Review and the Strategic Management Journal, among others. To read Robert’s complete biography, click here.

Strategic Analysis Best Practice 9 – Comparing Organizational Goals to Resource Assignments

Want to know what the organization is focused on; what it values? Simply follow the money.

The purpose of every organization is to maximize value creation as defined by its mission goals. To do so, executives and managers must employ the organization’s resources such that they are focused on the activities most directly supporting achievement of the organization’s mission goals. One method of assessing the degree of goal focus is to evaluate the alignment between organizational goals and resource assignment.


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Additional Resources

The following StrategyDriven recommended best practices are designed to help quantify an organization’s mission goals in terms of value and importance as well as creating consistency in the derivation of quantifiable goal values: