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Over the past weeks we have been looking into the importance of designing for the future while effectively managing the present. Designing for the future, being the period between eighteen months and five years from now, consists of three steps:
Envision: carefully articulate a clear vision about where you want to drive the industry you are in. Prepare: Find the shortest route between where you are now and where you want to go.
Deliver: Determine on what basis you will compete, once you have arrived at your new destination.
Last week we looked into the third step: Deliver.
In designing a marketing strategy for the new product we must find answers to some of the following questions: How will we position the new product or service? What design features will customers be interested in? What price will they find acceptable? What promotional tactics should be used? Which distribution channels would work best? Answers to these questions can only come from the marketplace itself. Now, today development costs are so high and product life cycles too short to allow companies to fully develop a product before marketing it. Today, companies include customers in the development cycle, by inviting their input in the process. By making a number of limited incursions into the market, a company is able to move rapidly forward without putting itself at risk, while learning from failures will allow it to venture where none have ventured before. The company now needs to be organized to deliver its new products and services. It will have to be forward looking with four different elements operating: Leadership, talented workers, resources and back up & support. Once the new vision is agreed upon, the role of the leadership is to communicate it until every single person in the company understands it and works for it. They walk their talk, encourage all, help them believe the mission can be achieved, resolve conflicts by means of problem-solving rather than blaming. They treat mistakes as learning opportunities. The workers have been thoroughly trained and empowered and are in charge. They go about their duties as owners, making decisions and solving problems in the interest of the new vision and mission. Resource providers offer advice and support to teams instead of trying to catch people doing things wrong and controlling, policing and auditing their activities. The managers offer support to their teams too. While this may all seem far- fetched, taking the Ethiopian context and corporate culture into consideration, we need to remind ourselves that we are trying to do business in a globalizing market and in order to do this successfully we have no option than to try and become world class companies, able to work towards the future while improving the present. Next we will explore how we can harmonize the different functions that people serve in the organization, which may be classified into:
Producing: Every organization needs people who can get jobs done. Good producers have extensive technical skills in their field, whether it is sales, engineering, accounting, etc.
Implementing: Organizations also need administrators who are good at implementing goals. They know how to plan, organize, coordinate and control work.
Innovating: Another need in organizations is innovation. Entrepreneurs are people who can look into the future, sense what is to be done and communicate it to others.
Integrating: For organizations to be effective, they need people who can motivate and mobilize people. Integrators can take an individual goal and make it a group goal.
These functional needs of the organization may be supplied by what people bring in, including skills but also their styles of thinking & acting. Producers are good at making things happen; administrators are good at creating and maintaining order; entrepreneurs are good at innovating; and integrators are good at building teamwork. The challenge is to match role demands with styles or having the right people in the right place.
Most people have a dominant style and respect for other roles and style is required to manage this effectively. The challenge to an organization comes when it is dominated by one personality of many strong personalities of the same type. The long term goal for organizations is balance of roles and styles. Next week we will continue to look into how to achieve this goal effective.