It’s commonplace and understandable. You are running your business. Making decisions important to keeping product flowing and customers happy today. You wish you had more headcount to operate the business that you’ve worked hard to build over the years but for various reasons, you are thin on headcount and you, as the business lead, find yourself spending much of your day ensuring that today is operationally successful. We all know and appreciate the adage: without a successful today, there cannot be a tomorrow.
To be clear, “tomorrow” in this context does not mean literally tomorrow, or next week, or next month. It is used to convey the “future,” whether it be one year, three years, or even farther out on the calendar.
Who in your business is charged with “thinking about tomorrow?” Who is your “future state provocateur?”
It’s here that we need to be honest. This is not a casual exercise. The world moves fast and laws, regulations, cost of doing business, competition, labor, commodity prices, speed of communication, consumer demands and any number of other variables specific to your business can batter you about. Thoughtfully anticipating the future state and, in turn, making decisions (sometimes very tough decisions) to position your business for success in the anticipated future state can be daunting when you are consumed with the real operational challenges of today.
I question the notion that, “If I just had more people resources to take care of the operations of my business, I could spend more time thinking about how my business should be resourced, organized, positioned in the market and supported with additional investment.” Even if you did have more time, would you and your leadership team be wholly-equipped and appropriately unbiased in your assessments that would then lead to the critical resource, strategy and market positioning decisions that will support a successful tomorrow?
It is so easy to become personally invested and self-admiring of your current business position that objectivity can suffer. Yes, your resident experts understand your business. But are they really stretching your business planning into new spaces, with new market approaches and new technologies?
While best efforts are always put forward, experience shows that substantive changes more often come about as a result of honest and frank challenges during the assessment and planning phases. And most businesses that are focused so heavily on today do not experience the thought-provoking stretching that gets them to the new place they need to be for tomorrow’s success.
Context can help
Our team of executive professional Partners and Associates represents a broad array of functions in which they have demonstrated success, both in their own businesses and now in working with other companies seeking another set of eyes, ears and more integrative thinking. Call on us and let’s discuss where you want to take your business “tomorrow.”
Context Senior Associate, Jim Zarndt, Jim.firstname.lastname@example.org