Brilliant Manoeuvre
An army on the offensive advances on a wide front to probe for weaknesses and gaps in enemy defenses, reinforcing small incursions to create breakthroughs. Similarly, a business in growth mode must widen the scope of its activities by trying many ‘experiments’ to discover and develop new opportunities, and then reinforce  successful ones while dropping failures.

Example
Working with a CEO client of mine, we’ve been developing a new culture for his company so that everyone–executives, managers, and employees–can create growth initiatives and spot opportunities. This can include new products, services, clients, and markets, or also internal improvements to processes and systems. As an example of the concept, late last year the CEO approved an idea that was suggested by a sales manager after she came back from a trade convention. She had met an app developer and suggested to the CEO that they create an app for one of its division’s with this developer. The CEO approved and entered a licensing agreement with the developer. In just the first year this new app has grown to represent about 45% of revenue in that division. It is not necessarily easy to instil a culture of innovation and risk-taking in an organization where people are used to top-down leadership. Specific skills and processes must be created and then reinforced constantly by senior leaders, especially–in this case–the CEO. Over time, however, this is the only way for this company to grow. It is also the only way that any company can grow and thrive.

Tip
For this concept to work, everyone in the organization has to know its vision and mission, its key objectives. The company must also implement ‘mission command,’ where everyone is involved in implementing strategy, operations, and tactics. They also require the tools and techniques to explore, experiment, and develop growth or efficiency initiatives. Senior leaders must also reward prudent, calculated risk-taking and encourage individual and group initiative.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

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