Navigating Complexity

The recent announcement of Jeff Bezos stepping aside as CEO to become the firm’s executive chairman has captured much attention in the business press. Do you even remember that Amazon started off as “just” a bookseller?

I’ll leave it to others to describe the myriad accomplishments and innovations that Amazon has pioneered over the years. What this triggers, though, is how we can apply some concepts to our complex business environment.

The following are worth revisiting to refresh your clarity and focus. I’m sure you’ve gone through questions like this before, and feel free to add others that are specific to your company and future aspirations.

+ What do you want to be known for? Often companies stray from their roots and engage in activities that don’t have a strategic connection to their vision. Over time, this weakens the business. People get distracted by those “bright, shiny objects” and forget to take care of the core business.

+ What kind of people are best to bring your company forward? This is not a skill specific question, rather it is one that considers everything from work ethic to creativity to strong team orientation. Remember, the people you hired years ago may not be the best for what you need tomorrow. This means that you’ll need to work a little more strategically to bring people up to speed to match your expectations.

+ What kind of clients, customers or patients can you serve best? As companies grow, the types of clients they serve expands and contracts. The expansion comes from more clients where you hit it out of the park, and contraction from those who require a lot of work for less profitability. Get clear on your clients of tomorrow and focus on their needs.

How do you stack up in these areas today? Clearly, this is a reflective exercise, and worth doing periodically so you can assess the impact of economic and market complexity for your future benefit.

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