A lot of blog articles that talk about “top trends in business” usually only touch the surface of business operations and growth strategy. You know what I mean, those “top five” or “top 10” lists that enumerate the hottest variations on how to perform business intelligence or the latest software analysis tools.
Useful as they are for the business practitioner, they mostly deal with tactics rather than deep strategy. The companies I do work for often have structural faults that prevent them from ever taking advantage of the latest and greatest business tools and fashions. To put it another way, I’ve been noticing a “top trend” in my own business dealings of late—the growing need for business transformation as globalization and technology continue to change the face of most industries.
Recently, I’ve been helping companies get from point A to point B by helping them figure out what to do in declining industries, how to take advantage of technology or customer trends in their specific markets, and how to transform by repurposing an existing product or technology.
The reason I can help is that my background in information technology and analysis led me on my own tumultuous but successful run through executive positions at a mortgage bank, a nuclear engineering and environmental services firm, and a software company. In each case, the company was trying to change its business model in some way, and because information, analysis, and intelligence played crucial roles, in each case I was thoroughly immersed in the process.
Now I draw upon that experience to help startups (transforming from prototyping to legitimate business), established commercial concerns, and sometimes even government agencies. I help them develop or rethink business models to leverage what is going on in the outside world (and often those changes are seen as threats and not opportunities) and make sure that their internal structures and procedures can absorb these (rapid) changes and can execute for success.
Failure is always an option, as Adam Savage of Mythbusters likes to say! Sometimes the business idea or rethink is great, but after analysis, the cost of implementation is found to be too great, so the recommendation is “no go.” But at least that conclusion saves the company from an even more costly failure.
The challenge of transforming smaller operations is the reason why I chose not to work for a Big Five firm. I recognize that each case is highly situational and prescribed methodologies and theories do not fit all, although they can be important starting points—just as a human resources professional might use a Myers-Briggs Analysis as a starting point to transform a workplace’s interpersonal relationships.
In my own practice, I am able to draw upon not only executive business experience and years of practical and applied knowledge but also I can select the appropriate management theory for each custom situation. Clients who seek this kind of assistance might have worked with me on a tough project before, or they may have been my client (working on other projects, such as marketing communications) for a few years, so we have developed the deep trust needed to get at the heart of the matter.
So, this type of practice—perhaps the most complex of the services I offer—sometimes takes years to get going, but it is highly rewarding and interesting, especially when I can get the client to take my advice!