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What Are Your Enterprise's Bad Habits in Relation to Irresistible Forces?

Once you've taken stock of yourself in terms of where you have trouble dealing with irresistible forces, look at the habits in evidence throughout your organization. Use your answers to the following ...

Once you've taken stock of yourself in terms of where you have trouble dealing with irresistible forces, look at the habits in evidence throughout your organization. Use your answers to the following questions to determine your enterprise's strengths and weaknesses when it comes to managing irresistible forces:

(1) What irresistible forces are already affecting your enterprise? A good beginning is to compile a list of the irresistible forces that you understand are already impacting your organization. You can learn a lot about your organization's likely future actions by studying how it has acted in the past. Be careful to consider any unique influences of customers, suppliers, competitors, employees, new technologies, new social trends, demographics, economic factors, governmental regulation, and community attitudes.

(2) What has your enterprise done well in responding to, adapting to, anticipating, and creating these forces? It is important to see irresistible forces in a positive light in order to take advantage of their potential to help your organization. For that reason, it's necessary to carefully look for past positive responses.

In making future changes, you want to keep these good habits in place or even build on them to create even more effectiveness. In answering this question, consider the timeliness of the response as well as its appropriateness. The classic example of a positive response to product tampering, which may return again, was Johnson & Johnson's immediate recall of all Tylenol products.

(3) Why did your enterprise do well with regard to these forces? Answering this question will help you identify the causes of your success. These may relate to the skills possessed by various employees, information your organization develops and analyzes, or an ability to focus as a common thread running throughout the organization.

Keep asking for the reasons until you think you have the underlying causes. Johnson & Johnson has subsequently used scenarios of possible future events and values reinforcement to help them be prepared should these circumstances recur.

(4) What habits would have helped your enterprise to be more successful in these past situations? You could re-examine history here to model what would have been an ideal response to the irresistible forces. Then step back to see what habits would have helped your organization to make that ideal response.

(5) What existing thinking habits are in conflict with these better habits that would help you be more successful? Contrast your current habits with the ideal response habits. Be careful not to overly model on past situations. The future could be quite different; in fact, you can count on it!

Here's an example of how ignoring irresistible forces can be dangerous: Remember when RJR Nabisco was purchased by KKR? RJR's CEO Ross Johnson thought the company was too large for anyone other than management to bid on. That belief led the company to waste resources and stalled progress, by making the company's leaders feel falsely immune from irresistible forces requiring continuing good business performance and a higher stock price.

Where is your organization pretending that irresistible forces don't exist?

Copyright 2008 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved

Article Tags: Irresistible Forces, Would Have

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Donald Mitchell is chairman and CEO of Mitchell and Company, a strategy and financial consulting firm in Weston, MA. He is coauthor of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. You can find free tips for accomplishing 20 times more by registering at:

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