CHALLENGES FOR GROWTH BUSINESSES – HIGH SCHOOL ECONOMICS?

Some interesting stuff going on on my social media feed this week. I have somebody who seemed to think that sort of thing I was talking about was high school economics. I’m not quite sure what they meant but it’s a little bit of a worrying sign to me when you get sort of some negative stuff coming through, some negative commentary on when you’re actually dealing with quite important stuff to businesses. I think it was kind of around the idea that cash flow costs are somehow trivial and should be dealt with by very simple means.

Now, for me, that’s a little bit strange because cash flow and costs lie at the heart of one of the most important things in business or one of the most important concepts in recent business theory and strategy, which is called Blue Ocean Strategy when they talk about value innovation.

What is value innovation? Value Innovation is where you try and push up the value that you’re providing to your customers and to push down the costs to you as well. Now that sounds a really simple thing to do, but it’s not necessarily that simple. It’s certainly not high school economics, as was put to me. It needs a lot of subtle work around the edges of organizations to really understand the cost. Cost, very often, are to do with people in organizations, but that are the costs as well of working. But if we’re dealing with costs there are today with people, we’ve got to be really careful how we handle it because there’s this expression in human resources, “They’re not resources, they’re people.” You need to really get them engaged to really make them feel valuable so that they are not disengaged at work, which is another serious issue that we got, based on deeply serious scientific work, so that we can really manage changes inside organizations, which is where you’re going to get much more organizational effectiveness, much more organizational efficiency.

When we’re starting to think about matters like these, which are challenges for business, they may appear superficial on the surface or they may appear easy to solve to people who perhaps are … have either lost sight of how difficult they are to manage or aren’t familiar with the challenges of running a business day to day, particularly small businesses, particularly startup businesses, and to an extent, those businesses that are in a high growth phase.

There’s another side to these sorts of comments. I do see them on social media occasionally as well, and that is comments like this are the sign of a closed mindset. Carol Dweck’s work on mindset is really important here. That is, if you’re going to make your contribution on social media, even if you actually disagree with something that somebody said … and that’s understandable, everybody’s got a right to their point of view. … it’s much better to be constructive, to find a better way to comment rather than be derogatory or say something is overly simplistic. Find the value in it or see how you can add value to that type of thinking.

That’s all. I’m Clive Smallman, I’m the personal and organizational learning strategist. I help leaders, teams, and organizations have breakthrough moments.