Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Change-proof your business with Harvard Business elixir...

The inevitability of change is one of the only things in this big old world that all of us can rely upon. In this month's Harvard Management Update, writer Peter Jacobs analyzes research from Texas A&M University's Michael Hitt and University of Texas, San Antonio's Katsuhiko Shimizu to help arm readers to persevere through difficult circumstances. The full article, entitled "Five Steps to Thriving in Times of Uncertainty," is available as a PDF download for just $4.

Strategic flexibility is the term that Hitt and Shimizu coin to describe the best means for a company to ready itself to endure tough times, and it relies upon (1) recognizing that significant changes are affecting your company, (2) rapidly setting a new course of action, and (3) continuing to monitor progress and committing resources accordingly. In summary, maintaining this mission-critical capability asks us to put systems in place to alert us whenever performance falters in any key area of business. We're also advised to identify individuals who can provide objective, critical analyses of our main activities -- and then put their advice to work. We also need to evaluate all major corporate initiatives on a regular basis and consider shifting resources to those that offer us the most strategic advantages. Finally, the results of these analyses and our follow-up actions should be weighed and judged, so that the lessons learned can factor into future decisions. Along with more illustrative examples, the full story also offers a worksheet entitled "Making Your Organization Change Ready," adapted from a Harvard Business Essentials piece by Siobhan Ford. If you're smart enough to be anticipating those unforeseen challenges over the horizon, this quick read can help make your business -- in a manner of speaking -- bullet-proof.