Creative Destruction

Adam Hartung, over at Forbes magazine, comments on the recent discussion about “creative destruction” and how companies become unproductive by new processes and technologies.

Both my experience with creativity and with focussing on process have learned me, and I agree with Adam here, that companies can always turn around, as long as their leaders are open to new approaches, new trends and new ideas. If you continue to do what you did before and the market has turned a corner, it is obvious that you’ll loose out on opportunities and your competition will move away from you, as will your sales.

Effective leaders are creative leaders. You need to sit down from time to time and have the strength to look at your business, department or company through the eyes of an outsider and notice the new approaches you could take. Listen to interns and stagiars for a change, as they will bring you some fresh ideas and new science straight from the scientific departments they have just left.

A really bad example is Kodak, the inventor of the digital photography, who totally missed the rise of the digital age and now has to go for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Also think about other companies that are struggling with this topic, see how HP has moved up and down and looks to struggle to find their new identity. Look at how Blockbuster missed the boat that Netflix jumped on.

All examples of the same failing leadership, lack of focuss on process, lack of creativity and lack of seeing the opportunities in new technologies when they present themselves there right in front of your business.

Best Practices

Part of dealing with the process in your company is looking at how others are handling this. If you want to be competitive in the market, you need to know what the market is offering and how your process fits into this mix.

When other companies start offering certain services, you need to evaluate your position. You can either follow or stay the course but you need to make the evaluation.

A sign of weak management is the reliance on “best practices” as the goal for a process review. Managers who continue to call for a review of “best practices” fail to understand the difference between “best practices” and “most common practices”.

One of the companies I worked with was not doing very well financially. Most other companies in the same industry had their challenges also. We however, kept hiring staff while others  were contemplating layoffs. Consultants swarmed our offices to outline their review of “best practices” that indicated that most companies were not hiring and instead were laying off employees. We continued to stay on our, careful but steady, hiring spree and when the market turned we were ready to go, while our competitors couldn’t embark on opportunity by lack of staff.

Consultants will highlight mostly “most common practices” and sell them as  “best practices”. The thinking here is that if many other companies like us have come to a certain conclusion, it must have value and we should do the same to be competitive. I view this as intellectual lazyness as I believe you need to continue to be an independent thinker at all times and review what other’s do, but then don’t copy but redesign your own process so it fits your unique company and will work for you. This may not be the “most common practice” but may very well turn out to be the “best practice” for your company.

New Management Metrics

Today we highlight a column in Forbes by James Slavet of venture firm. He comes up with Five new and very interesting Metrics for management. Nothing like earnings or profits, throughput or output, no he comes up with Metrics that go a lot closer to the process used to get to the company’s results. He measures:

Flow state percentage

The Anxiety-boredom continuum

Meeting promoter score

Compound weekly learning rate

Positive feedback ratio

Now to say that there is thorough research underlying these new metrics would be pushing it but the concepts and ideas are certainly worthwile thinking about and the notion to get closer to the process to improve managment is certainly one that we support with our 10pointsmanagement.

Read the article HERE