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Trends in Real-Time Strategic Execution

COMMENTARY 

By Tim Wasserman

California, USA
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Real-time isn’t a trend; it’s a reality. No matter how fast – or slow – a business is able to respond to change, the rate of change and the required speed to respond are constantly accelerating. While many businesses have to push hard to keep up, some high-performing businesses have distinguished themselves as real-time response leaders by:

  • Shifting their perspective towards the future
  • Improving their strategy and execution balance
  • Aligning their structure and culture to engage their teams
  • Emphasizing an enterprise perspective
  • Developing and applying a flexible, process enabling framework to guide decisions

A Perspective Shift

While most businesses use current and historic data to forecast future performance and thereby guide decisions about how to invest time and resources; high performers also take into consideration factors that could occur in the future and how those factors might affect forecasts. These companies know that uncertainty is best managed by seeking insight and preparing for a range of potential outcomes.

As Columbia University Professor Rita Gunther McGrath said, “Leading indicators belong in every company’s strategic tool kit.” For some, like a window manufacturer tracking new building permits, it can be relatively straight-forward. For others, like a PC manufacturer looking at survey data predicting CIO budgets, it can be more complicated.

High performance businesses look at these obvious leading indicators, but they also go a step further and scan the horizon for disruptions to the marketplace that could impede their success or open new opportunities for growth and revenue.

North American railroads failed to adequately predict the disruption that the fracking boom has caused to rail cargo. As a result railroads will leave money on the table in 2015 because they don’t have enough equipment to meet demand, despite indicators almost a decade ago of the potential for this disruption to the U.S. oil and gas and therefore rail cargo markets.

Samsung is on the verge of introducing a smart phone with a foldable, flexible screen. While you can be certain that Apple, HTC and Nokia are exploring the potential impact this disruption will have on the smart phone market, what other businesses should be taking note? This disruption could have a broad impact for suppliers and manufacturers in glass, PCs, mining and other industries. High performing organizations are constantly on the lookout for future marketplace disruptions, especially ones coming from unanticipated directions.

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About the Author

pmwj30-Jan2015-Wasserman-AUTHORTim Wassermanflag-usa

IPS Learning

California, USA 

Tim Wasserman is the Chief Learning Officer at IPS Learning and the Program Director of the Stanford Advanced Project Management (SAPM) program. Responsible for curriculum development and the IPS/Stanford partnership, Tim relies on more than 25 years of experience developing and implementing enterprise-wide solutions to address the human-capital needs of global enterprises in areas including project and program management; leadership development; talent development and retention management; new employee assimilation; creativity and innovation; sales and service excellence; and quality methodologies. He is a member of the Stanford APM faculty delivering both on-campus and on-site courses and workshops. www.ipslearning.com