Sunday, December 12, 2010

Surviving the Markets and Customers

Markets and customers wait for no company. This reality keeps companies grounded to reality. For surviving the markets and customers companies need to reinvent themselves on permanent basis.

The starting point for any survival strategy is to read and understand the mind of markets and customers. This then leads to crafting the overall corporate strategy by the top management team which cascades down till the level of the various line managers. Of course, two way flow of information from top management to line management and back is important to capture the whole story. The back channel of communication is especially important since line management and employees down in the trenches engage with the end-users on a daily basis and would generally know the "ground" reality more than the big guys at the top would know.

The next step is to figure out the budget and resources needed to make the strategy work out. Understanding the associated expenses to play out the strategy and make it a commercial success is an important aspect which leads to setting up the right financing model.

Another important aspect is to consider the skills and competencies needed to make all the pieces work together. This might mean re-training, lay-offs, new hiring and cross-functional resource movements. The human side of this aspect needs to be managed in a sensitive manner and a mature HR policy is must to take care of this.

Last but not the least focus on right execution is crucial for actual success. Every battle is finally won on the battle field and not on the drawing board in the war strategy room or in the minds of the military leadership. Similarly companies need to put in place and use the right execution model in the marketplace.

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