Gulf News

Evolv­ing busi­ness prac­tices

Don’t make changes by be­ing overly fix­ated on what you de­fine as favourable out­comes

- By Pro­moth Mang­hat ■ Pro­moth Mang­hat is Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor at Fin­ablr.

Don’t make changes by be­ing overly fix­ated on what you de­fine as favourable out­comes |

The snake which can­not shed its skin, must die. That’s ac­cord­ing to the Ger­man philoso­pher, Friedrich Ni­et­zsche. Writ­ing in 1881, Ni­et­zsche wasn’t con­cerned with snakes, but he was mak­ing a point about the abil­ity to change.

Or rather that those who refuse to adapt are re­sist­ing the in­evitabil­ity of change. Some­times with dis­as­trous con­se­quences.

Re­gard­less of the need for snakes to shed their skins, or how well that anal­ogy works in the busi­ness world, the is­sue of change, and more im­por­tantly adapt­abil­ity, is ex­tremely rel­e­vant.

Ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion needs a solid strat­egy that es­tab­lishes clear goals and cre­ates a frame­work for mea­sur­ing progress to­wards them. But un­ex­pected de­vel­op­ments can dis­rupt even the most care­fully cre­ated plans. At which point both you and your strat­egy need to be able to cope.

Will you re­main open-minded and flex­i­ble enough to re­act to changes and seize op­por­tu­ni­ties as they present them­selves? Or will you be like the snake that re­fuses to change its skin, cling­ing to a strat­egy that’s been wrong-footed by events?

Cul­ture comes first

Flex­i­bil­ity and open-mind­ed­ness are key cul­tural at­tributes. They are an out­look. A mind­set and an at­ti­tude. And like all as­pects of cor­po­rate cul­ture, they are es­sen­tially the day-to-day ex­pres­sion of the vision and mis­sion that must be set by the lead­er­ship team.

Some peo­ple say they are hands-on or hands-off man­agers. While I think we all know what’s meant by those terms, I don’t be­lieve you should aspire to be one or the other. You need to find a bal­ance.

You must be what­ever the sit­u­a­tion needs you to be, what­ever your peo­ple need you to be, what­ever your cus­tomers, part­ners, in­vestors need you to be.

You have to stay true to your vision, and the over­ar­ch­ing goals, of course. And you must al­ways be the most au­then­tic ver­sion of your­self. But there needs to be space for you to adapt when needed.

As an ex­am­ple, when you en­ter a new mar­ket, you have to be ready to build from the ground up. You can’t go around think­ing you have all the an­swers, that one size fits all. You have to be will­ing to learn if you want to suc­ceed.

Some­thing we do in the UK won’t nec­es­sar­ily work in the Mid­dle East. Some­thing that works in the UAE might not work in Africa, and so on.

Fo­cus on out­comes, goals

Open-mind­ed­ness and flex­i­bil­ity al­low you to be re­cep­tive to new ideas. You can re­spond to new op­por­tu­ni­ties and you can stay more fo­cused on the long-term goal, be­cause you are less hung up on the in­cre­men­tal progress you’re mak­ing.

When you ac­quire a new busi­ness, you can’t in­te­grate ev­ery­thing. Nor should you. Don’t get swamped by the minu­tiae.

Fo­cus on your goal. Why did you make the ac­qui­si­tion in the first place? It wasn’t sim­ply to iden­tify as many po­ten­tial ef­fi­cien­cies in the short­est time pos­si­ble.

It was to ac­quire new peo­ple with new skills and ideas. To ac­quire new tech­nol­ogy. To build new ca­pa­bil­ity, to de­velop new ser­vices that will de­light your ex­ist­ing cus­tomers and at­tract new ones.

That’s your goal. Not merely an in­te­gra­tion for the sake of it.

Lim­ited in­te­gra­tions give you ac­cess to the agility and nim­ble­ness of the busi­ness you ac­quired. Yes, sup­port them with your sys­tems, but let them do what they do best. The whole or­gan­i­sa­tion can ben­e­fit — es­pe­cially if you are al­ways look­ing to iden­tify syn­er­gies and en­cour­age peo­ple to work more closely to­gether.

If you want to know how well things are go­ing, there are plenty of out­puts you can mea­sure. But it’s im­por­tant to look at the im­pact on your peo­ple.

Are they still able to fo­cus on their pri­or­i­ties? Are they still pro­duc­tive? And do they still feel val­ued?

What­ever you do, don’t ig­nore prob­lems. Don’t rush to greet them ei­ther. Al­low your­self the strate­gic space to solve or even avoid them in­stead. Sim­i­larly, don’t ig­nore op­por­tu­ni­ties just be­cause they seem to run counter to your plans.

Your plans are there to serve a pur­pose — to keep you on the path to suc­cess.

Stay on the path, but make sure you are tak­ing in the scenery as you make progress. You never know what you might find.

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 ?? Ra­machan­dra Babu/©Gulf News ??
Ra­machan­dra Babu/©Gulf News

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