August 9, 2011 4 Comments Under Issues Management
At the closing bell of Wall Street in recent days, I can’t decide whether to bury my head in the sand or refill my wine glass to wash down more antacid. Considering the debt fret leading up to the downward spinal, the financial havoc that’s wreaking across the globe shouldn’t be a surprise. Or maybe it’s just the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy as politicians couldn’t predict enough doom and gloom all summer, complete with much finger pointing and more drama. I could hardly keep up with all sexual escapades of various members of Congress with all the theatrics going on, but I digress.
In the midst of all this financial heartburn, I thought about the number of businesses that respond with a similar approach of 1) denial and/or 2) self-perpetuating failure. This kind of business behavior isn’t uncommon – I know, I’ve been employed by some and represented others. And I’ve always wondered why can’t some business leaders see the train wreck that’s headed their way, especially when everybody else sees it?
In the not-to-distant past, Americans regularly used things like videos, typewriters and sewing machines. Did the makers of these products not recognize changing trends, new technology or the basics of supply and demand? What about providers of services like medical transcription, land lines or travel arrangements? How have these providers adjusted for change? Some didn’t as they declared bankruptcy; others developed new product/service lines; and a few updated themselves. And don’t even get me started on the U.S. Postal Service, an entity whose need has severely decreased over decades due to competition and technology, yet decision makers can’t seem to head off the pending train wreck.
To help determine whether or not a business can reasonably predict its success and sustainability, ask the following questions:
* Does the organization’s purpose represent something timeless, recession proof or meaningful?
* Is the company creating or meeting a need? If so, how?
* Do top decision makers have the firm’s best interest at heart, or are there too many egos involved?
* Describe the corporate culture. Are people passionate about work and committed to working as a team?
* Have top execs sat down and anticipated worst case operational scenarios and how they could avoid them?
* When was the last time you took a hard look at your own business or those of the clients you represent?
Clearly, Congress is not to be considered the standard for exemplary decision making, problem solving and team building. But business owners and public relations professionals can learn from their approach of what not to do.
In the meantime, what other questions are important to ask regarding an organization’s success?