No matter how hard Olympians train, when winning can come down to a thousandth of a second every optimization is crucial. One crucial decision that every athlete faces is whether to risk their health and career by using performance-enhancing drugs in order to closer to the win.
There are parallels in business everyday. I see a lot of companies make unhealthy decisions when faced with the pressures for short-term results. Many cycle through inexpensive interns instead of investing in developing talent for the future; they stifle innovation through excessive cost cutting; or grind “productivity” out of increasingly demotivated employees.
These decisions aren’t as obvious as an athlete deciding to dope, instead they creep in at every level of the organization until long-term health is in danger.
Certainly there are times when the short-term need for a win can outweigh long-term considerations, but it’s important to be clear about the choices that are being made, and the consequences that could appear down the road.
How can you be certain that your organization is making healthy decisions?
Start by to asking these questions:
What are the long-term impacts of short-terms bursts of productivity?
How are we pursuing a strategy of long-term health while pursuing our short-term goals?
Is our drive to win today compelling us to pursue tactics that will make it difficult for us to win tomorrow?
Any organization that is compromising its long term health for short term burst is doping. It’s a choice. The consequences become graver the longer it goes on, and it’s always possible to pursue a healthier course.
If you had to choose between good business results and good business relationships, which would you pick? This might seem like a trick question – after all, results are what you put into the bank at the end of the day, but you know that a hard-working team of motivated people makes that possible.
But it isn’t a trick: there’s a conflict between people and profits playing out everyday that executives need to be aware of.
What are the biggest challenges female executives face in business today?
Greed. I see many female executives and emerging leaders who aren’t willing to sacrifice a successful career for a thriving life outside of work. It’s burdensome and exhausting. They’re also blazing a new career path for generations of women and men to follow. I wish them Godspeed.
There are hundreds of books, coaching, seminars, and consultings on creating high performance team, culture change, and continuous improvement. Why do companies still fail or have not done any of these yet?
The volume of books and trainings indicate the tremendous need. However, no amount of reading and listening will create needed change.
Only courageous leadership will.
Leaders must exhibit determination, resourcefulness and grit to effect change in the face of organizational inertia. Few do.
These characteristics can be found in a person’s core, not in the pages of a book.
Which professional services would you need while expanding business internationally?
There are many tactical needs you will face such as a translator, local lawyer, a good banking relationship, someone to take care of visa and passport formalities, etc…
The most important professional service you will need are strategic advisors who are expert and local to the market you’re entering.
As recent example of why this is so critical, prior to working with us a client had been attempting to formulate a China-entry strategy with his US-based team. The strategy would never be successful because they were fundamentally cooking up just an overlay of their US strategy in another market.
It didn’t take crucial, China-specific factors into consideration. The client simply didn’t know what he didn’t know.
Our team was able to step in and work with the client to develop a China-relevant strategy that leveraged the pace of the market, rising competitive forces and government relationships instead of ignoring them. We even facilitated key introductions and our client is on a great path to success.
The moral of the story is never to underestimate the importance of a genuinely local strategy.
Does your company have the ability to enter new markets, develop new supply-chain models, and efficiently and effectively integrate as a global organization so that information can cross boundaries successfully?
In today’s global economy, every organization should be striving to achieve these, and other, aspects of cultural profit. But what steps do you need to take to make that happen?
The way to achieve cultural profit is to learn how to recognize, understand, and respond appropriately to different behaviors and worldviews. Becoming “culturally agile” in this way will allow you to work within various cultural contexts to achieve profitability, and will ultimately lead your company to be successful in competing markets.
Establishing an organization that’s culturally agile can make all the difference when it comes to cultural profit. Everyone in the organization must buy into this concept and work to become culturally agile, but it’s especially important to work on skills development with the people who are customer facing and working with cross-border teams. The results make an enormous difference, distinguishing companies that make huge belly flops from those that are smoothly running and have much greater success.
Michelle shares her idea of “calculated charisma” – being attuned enough to those around you to light the fire to inspire and excite them. Employees that are treated well and feel that they are working to create something meaningful love to be a part of a team and work hard.
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