Category Archives: Cultural Strategy

Handling Change

We see change all around us. And when observed over a period of time, we can observe trends. We can ascertain whether or not the next best thing is either a fad or something longer lasting.

With respect to changes, we can observe say the increase smartphone-based internet access (Australia: 10% in 2008, 50% in 2014). We can measure the shift in migration patterns (Australia: 1960’s Europe was major source, now Asia is). We can analyse we more people are in service industries (Australia: 73% in 1960’s, 85% now).

Change is all around us.

But what are the drivers of change? What is causing the long term shifts in what we see around us?

Well I would say three things:

  1. the increasing awareness of our environment
  2. the rise of individualism
  3. the everpresent march of technological improvements

Regarding awareness of the environment: isn’t climate change an increasing concern? Aren’t there more solar panels on houses now? Regarding individualism: can’t we now more easily pursue what we want? Aren’t our options more open now than they have been in the past? Regarding technology: look at the capabilities of say 2014 models of cars compared to 20 years ago (reversing sensors, Bluetooth, etc). Look at what we can now do in say medicine, in robotics and in travel.

And what are some of the implications? What do these shifts mean? How will they affect your life, your business, the business of your customers, and society more generally?

Well, here’s three things:

  • you need to be an attractive manager or leader
  • increasing rate of change
  • expectation of immediacy

Attractiveness as a manager or leader is along the lines of “do people want to work with me and/or for me?” Nowadays work life balance is about personal values. Its not so much about time, but its about the things we are involved with (social, work, relationships, causes) being in balance and being consistent. Are your values consistent with those you manage or lead?

How about the increase in the rate of change? Can’t we solve problems sooner now? Think of the social platforms that are used to bring answers to difficult problems. The many people that are available to, and actively involved in, helping solve these perhaps intractable problems. A snowballing effect as our cumulative knowledge and capabilities build rapidly.

And the expectation of immediacy. Isn’t easier now to organise a school re-union than it was say 30 years ago. It used to be snail mail & waiting til you got home to make a phone call. Now, its an email, a social media connection & its all done! And, with respect to our particular inclination, we can satisfy our interests more easily. Whether in food, shopping, music, travel, books, etc. It seems as though there are no barriers.

And perhaps the best way of handling all of the many changes we face is through the opportunities us afforded through the phenomena of social capital.

Social capital? It has three components:

  1. trust
  2. reciprocity
  3. community value

So, its joining with others to enrich each of these three components.

In that community you are part of (work, business association, sporting club, etc), are you building trust? Can you be counted on to give? Do you uphold and support the your common set of values.

For studies have shown, and its perhaps so obvious that we miss it, but communities with rich fabric of social capital have more resources for individuals.

Resources for you to handle, and thrive, in this ever-changing world.

 
For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

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Can you see the whole picture?

Most times when looking for a response to a long term problem we approach it with the same frame of view. Its almost as if we perpetuate the problem we are trying to solve because of some type of limitation in our ability to see things from another perspective.

Well, there are frameworks and models to assist us in our thinking.

One such model is based on Ken Wilber’s “Integral Theory”. Where integral implies seeing the whole picture.

In essence Wilber argues that there are four perspectives to any phenomena:

  1. the systems we share (ie, the exterior collective, social)
  2. the beliefs we share (ie. the interior collective, cultural)
  3. the systems that are me (ie, the exterior individual, behaviours)
  4. the beliefs that are me (ie, the interior individual, intentions)

So, how does this apply in practice?

For example, a team seems to continually come up short with respect to its customer service KPI’s. All previous attempts at improving have been focused on training. Well, how about seeing if other actions would work?

How about reflecting upon the intentions of those in the group. How might those be aligned with what you are trying to achieve? What about considering the systems that the people are working with. Are the IT systems that the team are using fit for the job? And what about the culture of the group? What words and metaphors can you use to describe it?

So, by looking at the problem from a different vantage point the keys to unlocking that issue can be found.

 
For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

Strategic Planning is Essential for Better Performance

Over the decades of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s there were a mixed bag of academic studies regarding the usefulness of strategic planning. Some studies poured cold water on the notion that strategic planning could improve the performance of a firm, others were hearty in their endorsement.

But time and again in recent years, analysis has shown that indeed bringing direction to an organisation through the process of strategic planning has indeed brought benefits.

Aspects improved include:

  • sales
  • profit
  • productivity
  • returns on investments
  • employee engagement
  • even the success ratio of new product development

The long-term implication from each of these studies is that if an organisation (whether for-profit or not-for-profit) thinks about its future and puts some resources into planning its direction (where it is, where it wants to go, and how it will get there) it will not only survive but thrive.

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.