Saturday, June 27, 2009

Navigating the New Normal

In a January interview in Fortune magazine, Jim Collins, author of 'Built to Last', identified a number of key characteristics that a business needs if it is to navigate through turbulent waters. His research on turbulence is especially relevant in the current business and environmental conditions, which he calls 'the new normal'. Much of what he says resonates with my own experience and with the core values and vision of our firm, but four things stand out.

First, set core values for the organization to provide a deep keel to stay your course. Second, be aware of the caliber of people in the organization. Are they the ones you would want with you in your foxhole? Third, have the perspective to take the long view in planning, and manage by the quarter century, not by first quarter results. Fourth, develop the attitude and confidence to succeed and prevail, not just to survive.

If this is how your organization operates, then Jim Collins says that turbulence can be your friend. The key point in realizing this opportunity, again echoing Louis Pasteur, is preparation.

"If you are disciplined and prepared before the storm came, you should be thankful for those (turbulent) times."

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