- Open Minds
- Competent Management
In the world of modern business, a company must be flexible in its operational philosophy and overall approach, lest that business subsists or fail entirely. This flexibility means more than simply adapting to changing economic factors; it means a willingness to reexamine any or all business practices, from sales and marketing to all aspects of operations; it means listening and hearing as well as measuring and planning. Some enemies of flexibility are closed minds, a focus on the bottom line only, managerial incompetence, and selective blindness.
Every business must identify or develop effective barometers that accurately measure key performance ratios, the competitive set, and changing market conditions. When those measuring tools indicate trouble, such warnings must be heeded and action taken that is properly planned, not panicked or impulsive. The focus must be shifted away from what has not worked when “red flags” appear, and proactive, planned actions executed promptly yet carefully.
Often times as a business owner or someone with a principle interest in a business, the task of taking the right road can be cloaked in emotion or an inability to become flexible. I like the metaphor of the bicyclist who has a front tire suddenly caught in a rut or trough and begins to fall. The temptation is to focus in the direction of the fall, which causes a crash instead of focusing the other direction, bringing the bike upright and back into balance. An over-correction might have the same undesired result. The owner or principle must force objectivity, often times by stepping back and realizing that this is a time for a critical examination and decisions that must be made carefully and perhaps by more than one or two minds.
Sometimes an outside resource can bring perspective or your sounding board of like minds can carve out solutions that might not be too complicated or even creative to stay on top of the game.