After strongly researching the cutting - edge ideas and wisdom tools for general managers and other executives in the next decade, the topics are those of: strategy, technology-innovation, customer focus, global awareness, psychological sensitivity, leading change, structuring partnerships - alliances, radical compensation systems, and community responsibility. The psychology and anthropology aspects of these ideas are very important because they emphasize treating people as assets and providing the tools and conditions that liberate them to use their brainpower to add value and make a difference.
The first strategy it to lead and manage the organization through constant learning. This is why, whenever we talk to a general manager we ask what are you reading and learning these days. Leaders create the future by promoting the kind of learning necessary to the organization and its people. What an executive chooses to learn himself, in his own time, sends a powerful signal about the skills and capabilities others should acquire.
The second strategy is that of focusing on designing, transforming processes for creating efficiencies and conditions via skills that extend to new products and services introduction. For example, Japanese companies invest 70% of their R&D funds in process innovations, while U.S. companies invest 70% of the same funds in product innovation. Japanese companies also emphasize innovations for low-end products first, so they can offer high quality and low cost at the same time. This is a strategy for market growth and dominance.
The third strategy is that of absolute quality, meeting the highest standards rather than conforming for common denominator solutions. This is striving towards perfection, as in the case of the Lexus Group, acknowledging that initially this can be more costly but in the long run a more sustainable action.
The fourth strategy is that of the boundaryless operation, which is opening the doors of the organization to more constituencies and stakeholders. This is what some researchers have denominated as being prepared for the environment of scrutinity, and being capable of putting the plans in front of the organizations constituencies for review, comment and support. This is a good exercise in the age of information, networks and accesses, where secrecy and confidentiality are banishing.
The fifth and sixth strategies are those interdependence and intercompany relationships on one hand, and coping with rising discomforting levels of all sorts. External constituencies are vital allies in mastering change, and continuity of interactions make relationships work as a savings account. The emotional temperature is rising inside and outside organizations. The ability to manage conflict, cope with tension and feel at ease within a highly pluralistic environment requires attention in many organizations.
Leaders have to promote constructive discomfort in order to avoid complacency and a sense of false security. The aim is to help people change with the times.
Copyright 1999 QBS, Inc.