Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Don’t invest in ideas, invest in people with ideas 39 – the issues and challenges of communications in a business 6

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on June 16, 2018

This is my 39th installment in a series on cultivating and supporting innovation and its potential in a business, by cultivating and supporting the creative and innovative potential and the innovative drive of your employees and managers, and throughout your organization (see HR and Personnel – 2, postings 215 and loosely following for Parts 1-38.)

I began Part 38 with a point of observation that I started addressing there and that I will continue discussing here:

• Ultimately investing in people with ideas and not just in specific ideas, depends on how effectively a business can in fact institute an effective back-channel if you will, unstructured, or at least less-structured communications system that can address the novel information flow needs that innovation, and disruptive innovation in particular require, while still maintaining effective risk management oversight of genuinely sensitive and confidential information.

And I offered in Part 38, as a part of this overall discussion, a simplified, and I admit somewhat simplistic standardized risk assessment scoring system that I am pursuing here for didactic purposes: a score that ranges from zero through 10 inclusively, with all intermediate integer value scores included. I offered a simple-seeming risk = 0 score example and briefly outlined how low probability but potentially impactful events, among other possible complications can force a change in even what would more reasonably seem to be safe low or no real risk, risk management assessments there. And I offered a relatively clear-cut risk = 10 example there too and discussed how complicating factors can force a needed risk reassessment there too. And that left me with the middle ground and events and circumstances that would fit a more mid-range risk score according to this test-case system.

I concluded Part 38 with a briefly stated assessment of that category of mid-level risk events, which I repeat here in part by noting that:

• All of this type of added risk-factor consideration becomes much more complicated with more mid-range information management risk scores. And that is where the type of unstructured, or at least less-structured communications and information sharing issues that I write of here in an innovation context, become both more important for innovation and more nuanced and challenging for their risk management considerations. Genuinely zero risk information sharing does not enter into any access decision making considerations here, and risk of 10 information is in most cases going to be off the table for that and out of consideration too. It is middle ground risk evaluation level data where this becomes important, and at least potentially challenging.

I offered at the end of Part 38, to cite and discuss such a mid-level event. And I do so here, turning to innovation and at least intended efforts to promote and facilitate it, for my here-best possible source of working examples.

I wrote in Part 37 and again in Part 38 about how innovation is information driven and information access driven, and how arriving at a practical innovative insight starting point can be essentially entirely so. Would-be innovators and even the most creative and capable of them can find themselves left in the dark if they do not have access to the information that they would need if they are to shape their innovation starting point concepts in ways that would be amenable to practical development and use. And if they do arrive at such an insight but no one can hear of it because of rigid information compartmentalization – or at least no one can who could help start a process of testing and developing from it, then it is as if no innovative effort were even started. But I am going to turn to a later part of this process, and the step-by-step process flow that would translate and develop an initial innovative spark into a realized disruptively new product, for my core example here. Information access and availability, and access that can cut across the more usual channels and communications patterns in that, are not the only possible bottleneck points that such an effort can face at this stage in the development of New. But it can still be a crucially important one.

Let’s develop this working example from the fundamentals:

• Innovation never takes place in a vacuum and cannot be assumed to be the sole prerogative of any one business enterprise, and certainly when an effort is being made to more effectively manage or resolve a more commonly realized problem or challenge that others see need to resolve too. And this applies for disruptive innovation that would come up with completely new and novel approaches for accomplishing that, just as much as it does for more routine next incremental-step evolutionary development. If you and your business are working on a potentially significant innovative advancement, you have to assume that others are too. And even if your approach is more creative and novel than that of your competition, if they get there first, and bring their New to market first, they start out with a real advantage.
• Let’s assume here that your business is pursuing a disruptively new approach to resolving an open challenge faced by your industry, and the consumers and end users in your marketplace. And your competition is taking a more next-step evolutionary approach and simply seeking to adapt what they already produce and sell, to more effectively address this recognized need.
• For this, their next step-only, more comfortably familiar evolutionary development new product offering might have a real advantage over an at least initially similar for functionality first iteration stage, disruptively new product type, and certainly in anything like first mover timeframes. (Here, I presume “functionally similar” in terms of addressing the initial commonly recognized problem that all of this new product development effort has been at least initially directed toward resolving.)
• Remember, the more comfortably familiar might not have the potential for further development that a newly developed, first take disruptively new product or technology might have – as it is further refined and developed in next products offered and next after that. But the more familiar product option that hits the marketplace can start out attracting the interest and the purchasing power of a wider swath of the innovation diffusion acceptance curve and its participants, with middle and even some later adaptors jumping on early because they see simpler evolutionary change to an already known and familiar to be more reliable, and comfortably so. And meanwhile a disruptively new alternative to that might only capture pioneer and early adaptor interest at first and a significantly smaller initial market share, as these competing new offerings seek to prove themselves.
• With those potential and even likely initial market share constraints and imbalances in mind, I raise the following consequential point. Essentially any delays in development and production, and certainly for the more disruptively novel marketplace option here, and certainly any that would present themselves as being more structural in nature and likely to recur would be problematical at the very least.
• Any real delays or blocks in the process flow that would move an initial innovation concept from the lab to production, and on to market, can rob an innovative business of any window of opportunity that they would need to really succeed with their New. This is a circumstance where first mover effects really matter.
• This is not all information-driven. A potential ground breaking and even blue ocean marketing and sales opportunity can evaporate if for example, the production line that would actually manufacture for it is slowed or stopped because a crucial part or material for this new offering cannot be acquired on time, and with seemingly ongoing failures to meet expected delivery dates for that. Actually, even that type of breakdown can be information-driven if the people at that business, starting with the initial developer of this innovative idea, and including its specific product designers, are left out of those production challenge-addressing conversations. Failure to include these potential participants there might very well preclude this business being able to switch to a Plan B alternative for designing and building this new product, that might bypass this here closed-off parts or materials delivery bottleneck.

I posit this as a mid-level risk example as far as business intelligence sharing and communications are concerned, because most if not all of the essential information details that could be more effectively communicated to potentially crucial stakeholders here, would fit into a mid-level risk assessment range and in any realistic risk management assessment. And if necessary and even essential people are kept out of the loop for these conversations, and their potential insight and solutions to this problem are left out as a result, that is probably more due to the momentum of the standard and routine, than from any specific case in point risk management-based information access assessments that might at least potentially be made too. A and B are not brought together in these types of conversations because they do not routinely need to do so. And if they are not communicating already, they are not going to know when pressing need has arisen where they should so communicate.

And I add that this can reflect how specific access decisions, if explicitly made at all, are made on an individual information sharing detail by individual information sharing detail basis, and without regard to or even awareness of the larger innovation-to-product process. Risk management itself can become too compartmentalized and walled off for it to be able to make effective big picture-aware decisions.

I am going to continue this discussion in my next installment to this series, with an at least brief analysis of the risk management-based information access determination process, as it arises and plays out in this type of mid-range risk management context. And I will continue on from there to discuss how this type of system can and in fact must be dynamically maintained for how it addresses both normative and predictably expected, and more novel potential information sharing contexts. I note here in anticipation of that, that when innovation is involved and particularly when disruptively novel innovation is, novel information sharing contexts have to be considered the norm in that.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

Advertisements

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 11 – the jobs and careers context 10

This is my 11th installment to a series on negotiating in a professional context, starting with the more individually focused side of that as found in jobs and careers, and going from there to consider the workplace and its business-supportive negotiations (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 484 and following for Parts 1-10.)

I have been focusing in recent series installments, on the interviewing process that top candidates for an open position at a business would go through as part of the hiring selection process. And to be more specific there, I have been focusing on interviews with key stakeholders who a hiring manager would bring into this process, and the why and how of that. So I begin this posting by repeating my to-address list of questions and issues that are related to that topic area that I have been discussing here, and with a goal of continuing that process in this posting too:

1. Why would a hiring manager bring other stakeholders into what is essentially their hiring decision making step? (See Part 9 for my discussion of this.)
2. And closely aligned with that question: who would they bring into this process and what would these stakeholders discuss with a job candidate? (See Part 9 and Part 10.)
3. And how would their input and insight be used in making a hire-or-not decision? (See Part 10 for the first orienting part of my response to this, which I will continue building from here in this posting.)
4. And given these questions and their issues, how can you as a job candidate most effectively meet with, and communicate and negotiate with these people, each with their own reasons for being included here and each with their own goals and interests in this process, so as to help you to achieve your own desired goals out of this overall interviewing process?

My goals for this series installment is to complete my response to the above Point 3, at least for purposes of this series, and then at least begin to address Point 4 with its question and issues. And I begin that and addressing Point 3 by repeating (here slightly rephrased) a point of observation that I offered at the end of Part 9 as foundational material for this posting, and in anticipation of it:

• How the input and insight offered by these stakeholders would be used in making a hire-or-not decision, depends in large part or even entirely for that matter, on the role that these colleagues play in that process as discussed in Parts 9 and 10, and the relationship that they have with the hiring manager who they would report their interview findings too. Their role and their acted-upon stake in this hiring decision process depends on what type of a stakeholder they are, from the hiring manager’s perspective and their overall relationship with them.

I have parsed the general categories of within-team insider versus “outsider” stakeholders, and of outsider stakeholders themselves in Parts 9 and 10, and have done so in several ways in the course of writing those postings. And I begin this discussion by parsing these stakeholders in yet one more way:

• Stakeholders who are selected for inclusion in this interviewing process by the hiring manager as a consequence of their own decision making processes,
• And stakeholders (here, usually outsiders to the hiring manager’s own work team) who are in effect imposed upon them by others, as being necessary to include here.

I have seen stakeholders of that second category added in at the “request” of a more senior manager or executive who the hiring manager reports to. And this has generally, at least in my experience, represented situations where a more senior manager seeks to take an active hand in a candidate selection process that is more officially being managed and carried out by a more junior manager, and generally one who reports to them – but without their overtly taking over this task.

A hiring manager is more commonly advised to actively include any imposed category stakeholders in the interviewing schedules, that are being set up for meeting with the top job candidates who have made it that far in the hiring process. This type of inclusion is less often presented to a hiring manager as a direct order. But either way, this always amounts to a more senior manager giving the hiring manager involved here, what amounts to a de fact direct order anyway. And hiring managers who finds themselves in this position should at the very least listen to what these outside stakeholders have to say. And they should be sure to require that all stakeholder interviewers offer their assessments in writing, and regardless of how they were selected for inclusion in this. But with the office politics issues of Part 10 in mind, this can still leave a significant amount of flexibility as to what the hiring manager does with this input and certainly if they can argue the case that they did listen to all involved stakeholders.

But before addressing that in any detail, I would offer and at least somewhat develop a simple, crucially important point. Before deciding what to make of these outside imposed stakeholders and their input, it is imperative that the hiring manager who is officially making this hiring decision, understand the why and how of their inclusion in this process.

• What role, and what personal stake does the more senior manager involved here, have in whatever tasks or goals that this new hire would be brought in to manage or resolve? Expressed somewhat differently and a lot more directly, does the senior manager or executive who imposes their selections of stakeholder interviewers in this, see the job that this new hire would carry out as being at least essential for the completion of one of their own pet projects that this hiring manager is simply carrying out for them, or are they getting involved here for other reasons?
• And what more direct relationship if any, might exist between this senior manager and at least one of the potential candidates under consideration? Do they have particular reasons to want to see one of the people under consideration here, hired for this job? And if so, why? Yes, the possibility of nepotism is always going to be present in this type of situation, but sometimes a more senior manager or executive wants to bring in a specific individual to test them out, and groom them for a particular next job and career advancement if they work out, and as they learn the area of the business that they would start out in.
• And what if anything, does this forced stakeholder inclusion participation on the part of the more senior manager, say about their relationship with and level of trust in the reliability of the hiring manager? Do they tend to micromanage, or are they using this to test out the validity of concerns that they might have as to the hiring manager’s performance or abilities? Here, these outside stakeholder might in effect be interviewing the hiring manager, even as they interview the job candidates.

Why do I delve into these issues here? I do so to highlight that the interviewing process and who is included in it from the business’ side of the table and why, are not necessarily about you as a job candidate or about the final top candidate group that is actually brought in for interviewing. Yes, a great deal of the selection process for determining who should interview the top candidates for an open position at a business, is going to be based on the job opening itself and on identifying the best candidate of those available for filling it. But a lot more can be going on when meeting with stakeholder interviewers, and particularly when meeting with outsiders to the hiring manager’s own team. And the hiring manager can be under as intense a level of scrutiny themselves, as any candidate who is brought in.

How can you tell if one or more of the outside stakeholders who a hiring manager has you meet with, have been imposed upon them for inclusion there, from higher up on the table of organization? One obvious giveaway on that is if the hiring manager’s own boss there insists on meeting with you and the other top candidates. I have faced that situation a number of times in my own career, and both when going in-house to work with a business and when taking on what would at least start out as a more open-ended consulting assignment there. And in all such cases, and I am thinking of two in particular as I write this, it was clear that these more senior interviewers were the people actually in charge there, and that they would have the final deciding voice in those hiring decisions.

• As a general rule, and I am directing this to the hiring manager side of these conversations: they should always listen to what their involved and included stakeholder interviewers have to say: all of them. That can be important in validating more expected conclusions that they themselves have reached too. But the fresh sets of eyes and the insight that experienced outsiders can offer in this type of setting can be valuable, and even a lot more so if it includes the unexpected too and certainly when that sheds new light on a candidate and how appropriate they would be as a potential new hire. The point there is that this hiring manager should be able to present any such findings to their own boss and supervisor there, in ways that are as fact-based and logically grounded and inclusive of all such input received as possible, grounding these interview findings in what was actually said in these stakeholders’ interviews with these candidates and with an awareness of what might have been skirted or evaded in what these candidates said too.
• And as a general rule, and I am directing this to the interviewee, job candidate side of these conversations: always assume that everything that you say, and everything that these interviewers say will enter into this hiring decision making process – including any attempt on your part to add a touch of humor into the conversation, which might or might not work.

And this brings me to Point 4 of the to-address topics list as repeated at the top of this installment. And I begin addressing that here by noting three points that can for all intent and purpose be treated in what will follow, as if essentially absolute truths:

• Anyone who is brought into this process as an involved stakeholder interviewer has had to find ways to push this added task into what was already a very, very busy work schedule and in the face of tight deadlines that they will still have to meet. Having to meet with job candidates will not qualify as a valid excuse for delays in delivering their expected results for their regular workload task requirements. And this holds for stakeholders who chose to be included and even actively so, as much as it does for those who are “requested” to participate.
• And everyone so involved as participants on the interviewer side of the table, is going to have specific reasons for having been included there. The candidate who is selected and hired will have an impact on what they do and on what they have to do and get completed. So they have reasons for wanting to be there and for wanting to be involved in this, and even if they have to get creative to find the time to do this too.
• Now, and given the dynamics of the first two of these bullet points, how can you as a job candidate better understand the underlying needs and priorities of the people who you meet with: the hiring manager and these stakeholder interviewers included? And focusing back on these stakeholder interviewers again, how can you find and develop a sense of shared alignment between what you offer and can do, and what they want and need, and in a way that would show that you are the candidate who they could most easily and comfortably work with in achieving that? How, in other words, can you make allies out of these people, for when they report back to the hiring manager who will make the final officially stated hiring decision here?

I am going to continue my discussion of this Point 4 in my next series installment. And then after that, I will discuss negotiations as to terms of employment, and with compensation and other factors definitely included in that, there assuming that the hiring manager you have met with has made a positive decision to bring you into the business as a new employee. Then, looking ahead, I will turn to consider the new hire probationary period.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Page 3 to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, and also see its Page 1 and Page 2. And you can also find this series at Social Networking and Business 2 and also see its Page 1 for related material. And I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Leveraging social media in gorilla and viral marketing as great business equalizers: a reconsideration of business disintermediation and from multiple perspectives 10

Posted in social networking and business, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on June 10, 2018

This is my 10th posting to a series on disintermediation, focusing on how this enables marketing options such as gorilla and viral marketing, but also considering how it shapes and influences businesses as a whole. My focus here may be marketing oriented, but marketing per se only makes sense when considered in the larger context of the business carrying it out and the marketplace it is directed towards (see Social Networking and Business 2, postings 278 and loosely following for Parts 1-9.)

I have been discussing communications and I add business process disintermediation in businesses from the start of this series, primarily doing so in terms of two specific business model and business type examples:

• A new, young, small startup that seeks to leverage its liquidity and other assets available as creatively and effectively as possible, and from its day one when it is just starting to develop the basic template that it would scale up and grow from,
• And a larger, established business that has become at least somewhat complacent and somewhat sclerotic in the process, and with holdover systems and organizational process flows that might not reflect current actual needs or opportunities faced.

And I have focused most recently in this series progression on the second, more established business example here, considering change and its need and how resistance to it more commonly plays out, and particularly where such change is actively needed but could be viewed as disruptive (see Part 8 and Part 9.)

I began specifically focusing on marketing, and on more effectively identifying and connecting with the right marketing demographics in Part 9, as an arena where these issues and challenges are most likely to critically play out, and certainly in any business that significantly follows the pattern laid out in my large and established, but at least somewhat sclerotic business scenario. And I then concluded that installment with an open question that I offered as a point of thought for the reader to consider:

• If change per se in a business and its ways, is going to engender resistance from the ranks within it anyway, why not focus on making the right changes from a market-facing perspective and certainly going forward, and simply accept a need to bring the people working there along with it, as an unavoidable cost element?

I begin this installment from there and by expanding out at least some of the complex of issues that go into both understanding and addressing a question of that sort. And my goal for this reframing to follow, is to lay out and at least begin to consider some of the trade-offs inherent in any effort to more effectively address it:

• What types of change are being considered here, and with what priorities?
• Focusing on the higher and I add the highest priorities of them: the issues and needs that have to be addressed, and effectively and soon in order to safeguard and advance the business, and setting aside the optional potential changes that would simply be nice to be able to carry through upon too, where exactly do these must-do tasks fit into the business? Functionally that almost certainly ranges out beyond the boundaries of a Marketing, or a Marketing and Communications department per se and even if the issues under consideration are all at least nominally marketing, and marketing approach in nature.
• What costs would their not being corrected create, and what would be saved or enabled in increased revenue generation if they were addressed?
• What costs would arise and both directly and consequentially if they were set aside for future resolution, where a decision might be made to address them but only as holding lower priority need?
• What would the costs of actively pursuing these changes entail? This, I add is a question that of necessity cannot be fully contained in a more routine bookkeeping ledger. Costs there, critically include human impact as well as directly calculable monetary cost, and the costs of resistance to change, and the cost of adaptation and learning curve participation even if a change involved here is fully and even eagerly endorsed.
• Now let’s consider the key stakeholders to these changes, and particularly those whose actions could stymie or enable them, and whose resistance or positive participation would influence overall costs faced, and of all types. Who is significantly going to be involved in this change initiative at that influencing if not outright controlling level, and on a critical needs change, by critical needs change basis? Once again here, I am particularly focusing on those critically important change issues, and with a goal of arriving at as realistic an overall assessment of them as possible.
• And I will be blunt here. If there are crucially positioned gatekeepers of the type noted here, who would actively work against and resist changes that any prudent business systems analysis would show to be essentially necessary, are they the right people for the positions that they hold in the business? Are there others there who should be advanced into, or more laterally moved into those jobs? Is it time to bring in new blood through carefully selected new hires?

Basically, and as a summary answer to the initial bullet pointed question that prompted my offering this list, if there are critical needs changes that have to be entered into, simply following a more passive, let’s see what happens next strategy, is bound to lead to failure. Proactive decision making and follow through are essential in this type of situation. And that has to be information drive, and grounded in an understanding of consequences, and of systems and processes dependencies faced. And as marketing represents the public face of the business as a whole, the potential range of those consequences and dependencies can be widespread.

And this brings me to the issues and questions of startups and early stage businesses and the first of my two, above repeated business scenarios. And I begin addressing that for purposes of this series by reconsidering what change and continuity mean when considering the background experience, preferences and assumptions of key participants in shaping and executing business practice.

When you study and analyze a well established business: a more troubled one included as would fit the terms of the second basic scenario as listed above, you can usually assume that at least significant aspects of a presumed “tried and true and correctly so”, will be shared throughout the organization in accordance with their corporate history and with their deeply ingrained corporate culture and sense of shared identity there too. And that definitely applies to those in position of authority and influence who have worked for significant periods of time there and who have become fully invested in their business’ here and now.

When you look to startups and early stage businesses, you can find a great deal more diversity there in what is believed and in what is all but axiomatically assumed, with all of the founders bringing their own work life histories with them and for aspects of those narratives that they would want to perpetuate, and for aspects of them that they would seek to avoid and even antithetically so in what they do next.

I am going to delve into those issues in my next series installment. And in anticipation of that, I note that this means holding conversations that bring out what everyone involved in the founders’ team assumes regarding their new shared venture, and all of the key points as to what they would seek to achieve through it and how (at least in broad outline and certainly where differences and unstated ones could lead to collisions.) What goals and aspirations do the various members of the founding team hold? And what do these professionals seek out, and I add presume as coming for how they would variously divide up the work and the authority there and for how they would communicate with each other? As this is a marketing oriented series, I will specifically discuss the issues of what would be marketed and how, and how that would be planned out and executed upon. And I will explicitly discuss disintermediation in communications and marketing, as that would impact upon and shape the business plan, and how it is executed and by whom.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory. You can find this and related postings at Social Networking and Business 2, and also see that directory’s Page 1.

Pure research, applied research and development, and business models 13

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on June 7, 2018

This is my 13th installment to a series in which I discuss contexts and circumstances – and business models and their execution, where it would be cost-effective and prudent for a business to actively participate in applied and even pure research, as a means of creating its own next-step future (see Business Strategy and Operations – 4, postings 664 and loosely following for Parts 1-12.)

I have been discussing a series of exit strategies in this series, since Part 8 that a new business venture can enter into, as possible approaches for raising capital development funds as it concludes and exits it early startup and initial development stages and as it starts to become consistently profitable and enters its first real growth phase. And while I have listed the default, organic growth option at the top of this list up to now, I have held off on exploring that until finishing discussion of the other four: all developed around specific distinctive ways of bringing in outside funding support to accelerate early growth.

My goal for here is to address the fourth and last of those possibilities. And after completing that line of discussion at least for purposes of this series, I will finally turn to consider the default scenario option, and I will do so from the perspective of knowing about and at least considering the other four. And for smoother continuity of narrative, I begin all of this by repeating the four outside funding sourced options under consideration here:

1. A venture capital-backed one,
2. An angel investor-backed one,
3. A crowd source-backed one, and
4. A friends and family-backed one (elements of which might also apply to the basic default model scenario, as will be discussed next after this in this series.)

I begin discussing Scenario 4 of this list by explicitly making note of a detail to it that is obvious when baldly stated, but that can easily be overlooked for its implications in the specific instance. Family and friends are not outsiders or strangers. They share what can be deep emotional bonds with the founders of a new business who they are so related to. And it can be a lot more difficult and a lot less tenable to simply presume that these possible investors can and will carry out anything like necessary due diligence analyses as to the viability of your business, as they would more likely do if approaching a possible investment opportunity as a clear eyed, dispassionately involved outsider. This obviously holds for direct and closely connected family members, but it can also hold for friends too and particularly when a business founder under consideration here, has gone out of their way to be of significant help and benefit to one of their close friends in the past.

To take that out of the abstract, I have seen parents take out home equity loans and draw down from their life savings that had been earmarked for their retirement, in order to help a child to start a business or help them through a turning point as they seek to build their business venture towards larger success. Siblings and other relatives, and friends – and certainly best friends there, can also feel a strong and even compelling need to step in and help in this manner, even if that much more rarely means literally taking out a mortgage to help raise funds and certainly from friends. But the ties that bind here, can be strong and they do have to be taken into account. And when friends and family invest and significantly so, this can put a significant level of pressure on the founders and owners of a business venture so supported, to plan and act conservatively, to help protect those investments – and those investors.

I am writing here in this series about a special case category of what would qualify as speculative and disruptively novel business models, and the businesses that would be developed and built out of them. That, by its very nature, militates against taking or even considering an across the board conservative business model or business execution position. So as a first point of consideration here, I point out that leveraging the growth of a business by significantly drawing on Scenario 4 investors, would create conflicts and contradictions for those who see a need to pursue the disruptively novel and in creative ways, while still (at least relatively conservatively) safeguarding these investors against any possible loss and as if they were entering into a conservative, lower-risk investment with a more standard young and growing business.

I am not arguing against allowing in family or friends in as backers and investors. I am, however, strongly arguing the case for only allowing them in according to carefully and clearly laid out ground rules, that all parties understand and can comfortably agree to. And this means laying out the risks as well as the more positive opportunities faced. And this can mean imposing caps on the levels of funds invested by these people, and restrictions on how they would so invest. And yes, I find myself thinking of those home equity loan parents as I propose this as a prudent and even necessary measure here.

And to put Scenario 4 and this discussion of it in a fuller operational and financial planning context, develop the rest of (and the bulk of) the capital funds raising effort pursued, that this now-first real growth phase business would enter into, from another outside funding sourced business develop scenario or from primarily pursuing a more organic growth, internally funded business development approach and one based on drawing development funds from revenue streams achieved.

And that brings me directly to the default scenario that I have been at least mentioning in all of this, and certainly since Part 8. That is the topic of discussion that I will turn to in my next installment to this series. Then, looking farther ahead, I will consider and discuss growth and development more generically and regardless of which of these now-five development funding scenarios are followed. I will delve into the issues of growth and development once a business has passed financial break-even and is now actively beginning to grow into its potential. In anticipation of that, I note here that every business, at whatever stage in its development carries its history up to its current here-and-now with it. So I will still find reason to refer back to earlier business development stages, and to the decisions and consequences begun there as they continue to play out.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory.

Rethinking national security in a post-2016 US presidential election context: conflict and cyber-conflict in an age of social media 10

Posted in business and convergent technologies, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on June 4, 2018

This is my 10th installment to a new series on cyber risk and cyber conflict in a still emerging 21st century interactive online context, and in a ubiquitously social media connected context and when faced with a rapidly interconnecting internet of things among other disruptively new online innovations (see Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 2, postings 354 and loosely following for Parts 1-9.)

I sought to at least briefly lay out a fundamental challenge that we all face, globally, in Part 9. And I continue developing that narrative here by briefly repeating a four point starting assumptions list that I began that posting with, and a core point of conclusion that I arrived at from it, and from recent in the news events as well. I begin with the four basic points, somewhat edited for use in this next discussion step context:

• The underlying assumptions that a potential cyber-weapon developer (and user) holds, shape their motivating rationale for developing (and perhaps actively deploying and using) these capabilities. (Yes, I phrase that in terms of developer and user representing the same active agent, as a developer who knowingly turns a cyber-weapon user over to another, or others is in effect using that capability through them.)
• The motivating rationales that are developed and promulgated out of that, both determine and prioritize how and where any new such weapons capabilities would be test used, and both in-house if you will, and in outwardly facing but operationally limited live fire tests.
• And any such outwardly facing and outwardly directed tests that do take place, can be used to map out and analyze both adversarial capability for the (here nation state) players who hold these resources, and map out the types of scenarios that they would be most likely to use them in if they were to more widely deploy them in a more open-ended and large scale conflict.
• And crucially importantly here, given the nature of cyber-weapons it is possible to launch a cyber-attack and even with a great deal of impact on those under attack, in ways that can largely mask the source of this action – or at least raise questions of plausible deniability for them and even for extended periods of time. That, at least is a presumption that many holders of these weapons have come to presume, given the history of their use.

And with that restated, I offer my point of conclusion and concern as arise out of the above:

• Think of this as a matter of cyber-weapon capability, by its very nature, setting up what can amount to the opposite of the long-presumed threat-reducing result of nuclear deterrence. The more damaging the potential and even certain outcome of anyone launching nuclear weapons against an enemy is, the more likely it becomes that all would be annihilated from them. This is the by-now widely and all but axiomatically assumed Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD hypothesis, and a hypothesis that few if any are willing to even seriously consider testing experimentally. And the more advanced and capable the nuclear weapons are that are developed, the greater the perceived and shared fear that they generate and for all from this, and the greater the impetus that this creates to prevent that from happening. Here in contrast, the more advanced and sophisticated that cyber-weapons become, the greater the risk that they will be used and certainly in “limited and controllable” live fire tests, that become increasingly likely to get out of control and with all of the escalation of conflict that that could lead to.

I stress the last sentence of that bullet pointed statement here, explicitly noting that while nuclear weapons and their development and even-just limited proliferation, led directly to a recognition and acceptance of the MAD doctrine: the MAD hypothesis, cyber-weapons and their much wider proliferation have led to what amounts to an anti-MAD presumption: a presumption of anonymity-based safety for any who would deploy and use such weapons. And that leads me to the to-address point that I added at the end of Part 9 as my intended area of discussion here:

• The issues of how better to respond to all of this, and reactively where that is necessary and proactively where that can be possible, have become an absolute imperative and for the safety of all. And my goal in addressing this is ambitious as my intent here is to at least touch upon all involved levels of conflict and its potential, and from that of the individual to that of the nation state and of national alliances. And in the course of discussing issues that arise from all of that, I will of necessity reconsider a point of issue that has informed most all that I have written in this blog regarding cyber-security and the challenges that it faces: the impact of change and of disruptive change in all of this, where any solutions and approaches arrived at, of necessity have to be dynamically updatable and as part of their basic definitions.

I begin addressing that Gordian knot challenge by at least raising a perhaps simple sounding, wave of the hand solution to all of this, which I will address in the course of what follows: a need to develop a convincing cyber-weapons counterpart to the old nuclear weapons context MAD doctrine. And a key to that would of necessity require making the core of my above repeated fourth assumptions bullet point obsolete:

• Effectively ending any possible realistic presumption of anonymity as a protective cloak around any cyber attacker by making the consequences of relying upon it too costly and the chances of being found out and identified as the attacker too high.

This would require a coordinated, probably treaty-based response that would most likely have to be organized with United Nations support if not direct United Nations organizing oversight:

• Possible cyber-attack victims, and at all organizational levels from nation states on down to local businesses and organizations, have to be willing to both publically acknowledge when they have been breached or compromised by malware (cyber-weapons.)
• And organizations at all levels in this from those smaller local organizations on up to national organizations and treaty groups of them have to develop and use mechanisms for coordinating the collection and analysis of this data, and both to more fully understand the scope and nature of an attack and any pattern that it might fall into, and to help identify its source.
• And a MAD approach can only work if this type of analysis and discovery would in effect automatically lead to action, with widely supported coordinated sanctions imposed on any offenders so identified and verified, and with opportunity built into this to safeguard third parties who an actual attacker might set up as appearing to be involved in an attack event when they were not. (I made note of this type of misdirection as to attack source in Part 9 and raise that very real possibility here again too.)

There is an old saying to the effect that the devil is in the details. The above “solution” approach to this challenge might sound positive and nice when simply presented in the above type of broad brush stroke manner and without regard to, or even acknowledgment of the very real world complexities that any such resolution would require. I am going to at least briefly begin to chip away at the edges of the perhaps naive if well intentioned simplicity of what I have proposed here, in my next series installment where I will begin to delve into some of the details that any valid resolution to this challenge, would have to accommodate and deal with.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 3, and at Page 1 and Page 2 of that directory. And you can also find this and related material at Social Networking and Business 2, and also see that directory’s Page 1.

Intentional management 49: elaborating on the basic model for adding people and their management into the equation 10

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on June 1, 2018

This is my 49th installment in a series in which I discuss how management activity and responsibilities can be parsed and distributed through a business organization, so as to better meet operational and strategic goals and as a planned intentional process (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 472 and loosely following for Parts 1-48.)

I began Part 48 of this with a to-address list of topic points that I began to discuss there, which I repeat here as I continue that process:

1. What happens to standardized processes and procedures in all of this (n.b. in the complexities of a business’ ongoing processes and practices as intended and as actually carried out)?
2. And who gets to decide, and particularly on a specific-context by specific-context basis, what should be and in fact is standardized for this?
3. The issues raised in that question become both more pressing and more complex as a business becomes more complex and widely geographically spread out.
4. Now, and with that in mind, how can a business and its senior leadership maintain overall organizational consistency while allowing for necessary flexibility and opportunity to at least locally prototype test out new alternatives to what might be more standard and routine?
5. And this brings me to the next to-address point that I acknowledged as coming up in this series towards the top of Part 46: ad hoc and special exception practices, and the emergence of the “ad hoc standardized” and its consequences.

I offered at least preliminary discussion of the first four of those points in Part 48, at least for purposes of this series. My goal for this series installment is to continue from there to consider Point 5 and its issues, and from the perspective of the framework that I developed in addressing Points 1-4. And that will mean my delving into the issues of ad hoc and special exception practices, and those of the oft-tangled complex of issues that I raise when using a term like “ad hoc standardized.”

I begin all of that with ad hoc and with the sometimes very distinct issues of special exception practices. And I begin that by acknowledging a basic assumption that I all too often include in when using the term “ad hoc”: unplanned, and unconsidered, and the likelihood that any decision made and action taken in that manner is going to be arrived at independently of whatever overall strategic planning or operation practices are in place.

• Ad hoc can in fact prove essential, and certainly when faced with a suddenly emerging, fundamentally unpredictable crisis. But even then and even when such an out of the box, ad hoc approach works in dealing with such an unexpected situation, it is still going to be at least something of a gamble, and essentially by definition. And while gambles do sometimes work out and even very successfully, they do carry risk and their chances of succeeding are not always anywhere close to certain.
• That is why I refer to ad hoc resolutions in general, as more negative than positive: that, and the fact that as rule breaking exceptions, they create disconnects in the systems in place that they are exceptions to. And when they become more commonplace the end result can be a de facto dissolution of standard and routine as such, and certainly insofar as that would enact actual strategic planning or intent.

So I began this by raising the issues of ad hoc and special exception business activity, and I essentially immediate turned from there to consider both heightened risks that they can create, and consequences that they can lead to where ripple effects might have to be addressed too, in order to restore operational routines again. And with that noted, I turn back to reconsider Point 4 of the above list, as a starting point for understanding a crucial aspect of Point 5 as I discuss that here:

Ad hoc decisions and actions can, in principle, arise anywhere in a business and anywhere along its table or organization, and both horizontally and vertically along it. But they are in fact most likely to occur and are most likely to be seen as necessary, where the people who would carry them out are not in a position to create or in any official way, shape standard policy and practice as would be expected. But these people are in a position where they would have to carry out the hands-on details-level implementations of those standard and expected business processes in place, and achieve the intended goals that those processes would at least nominally be expected to yield. And it is common that the managers who they report to, focus primarily on goals actually reached and timelines needed for that, in all of this. (Yes, I am setting up what can become a catch-22 style double bind.)

So this type of contingency is more likely to arise lower down on the table of organization – and under circumstances where the people who hands-on have to make these ad hoc decisions, cannot readily effectively turn for guidance or direction from others who would be in a position to organize a more standardized, within-operational planning resolution.

• Yes, sometimes a senior executive has to in effect roll the dice for the entire business, and ad hoc and special exception resolutions can arise from the top of the table of organization and from within a business’ leadership.
• But most of the time, individual ad hoc events are smaller and more localized within the business. And the ripple effect complications that go with them, as additional spill-over from whatever prompted them in the first place, or that have arisen directly from carrying them out might be smaller and more localized too. And this matter of scale and this limited locality of occurrence can in effect keep them below the radar and effectively invisible higher up in the business too.

And focusing here on the second, commoner of these types of occurrence, it is when these individually smaller types of events start to be repeated and as-is and in new variations, that real problems can emerge from them. And this brings me directly to the challenge of “ad hoc standardized.” I am going to address that business process approach in my next series installment, where I will roughly divide it into two categorical types:

• Type 1: localized and specific, where specific business processes and their associated tasks come to be understood, managed and carried out in some particular, and at least relatively consistent “nonstandard” or work-around manner, and
• Type 2: generalized, where ad hoc and non-standard have come to be routinely turned to and relied upon and for what can be a seemingly open ended range of contexts and circumstances.

Then after addressing these issues and their challenges, I will offer what amounts to a summary conclusion to this series as a whole, tying together this progression of postings as I have developed it here as fitting into a single “intentional management” framework. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

Rethinking Platt Perspective at 2501 postings – an update on how this enterprise is to continue from here

Posted in blogs and marketing by Timothy Platt on May 29, 2018

I began writing to this blog at a rate of one posting going live every day, starting September 14, 2009. And I continued at that pace, with a few supplemental postings added in, until February 17, 2014. At that time, I made a fundamental change in my pace of writing for this overall narrative. I switched to writing and uploading new installments to go live on it, with a next posting set to appear every other day. And now it is May 29, 2018 and I have decided to slow my writing and publications pace again: this time to once every three days.

I have thought a great deal about when and how I would make this type of chance, just as I did leading up to my September, 2014 decision to start writing to this at all with the long-term commitment that I assumed with that. And at this time, I feel that I have reached a point in my efforts here, where this is the right decision for now as to how I should proceed moving forward.

That said, I will still offer at least some postings on “off-days” and particularly for series that are not amenable to longer-term scheduling, with the delays that that involves for their next installments to go live. But even then, I will have days off that allow for longer development and writing times.

As stated above, I pursued what was basically a once a day, every day publishing schedule for a number of years. My at least initial goal when switching to a once every other day schedule was to continue at that pace for about the same length of time in which I had posted daily. I did reach that mark. As of now, I expect to continue at this new pace for at least as long as that timeframe unit of measure, which would mean my following this approach until something after posting 2900 and probably closer to posting 3000 for this blog. That said, I might change my mind, in which I will share another schedule-correcting update to this. But I still view this endeavor as being open ended in duration and the total number of postings that I will eventually have written to it.

Timothy Platt

On the importance of disintermediating real, 2-way communications in business organizations 10

Posted in social networking and business, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on May 27, 2018

This is my 10th installment to a brief series on coordinating information sharing and communications needs, and information access filtering and gate keeping requirements (see Social Networking and Business 2, postings 275 and loosely following for Parts 1-9.)

Communications and business transactions in general, have least traditionally taken place on an individual to individual basis, and even when a person sending a message or initiating a transactional business event does so as a representative or agent of a larger group or on behalf of another individual. A communication’s intended content might have been crafted by others, at least for its intended content. But if the message sender does more than simply push a button, expressing that message in their own terms and through their own effort, they are actively sending it.

And I add that this individual-to-individual communications paradigm holds when a communicated message is sent out to a group audience as much as it does when this is sent to a single specific individual, as it is individual recipients who actually taken in such messages or ignore them, and they individually process them in their own minds and according to their own understandings and their own areas of workplace responsibility and their own agendas there too. Once again, communications remain fundamentally individual-to-individual in nature.

Automation and the increasing incorporation of artificial intelligence-based systems and agents in this overall communications and work process transactional flow, complicate this. When their form of New is added into these transactional systems, agents can no longer be presumed to be independently intelligent and certainly where that would involve general intelligence, and they can no longer be presumed to have anything like free will on their own part in the decisions that they make or the actions that they take. Then, and particularly as matters now stand as far as the state of development of artificial intelligent agents is concerned, they have to be thought of as following the dictates of rigidly circumscribed outcomes-defining algorithms that do not offer higher level (e.g. general intelligence level) flexibility or creativity as options in how they would be carried out, and either for their information inputs or for their consequential actions.

That changing circumstance can apply, of course, to both the sender and recipient side of a putative communication. But for purposes of this posting, and this series, I presume that any such artificial agent involvement can be seen as invoking the involvement of the original starting-algorithm creator at a distance, where these artificial agents act as if surrogates for them. Then the question here is that of business systems friction, where it cannot be possible for such a represented human agent to anticipate or account for in advance, all possible contingencies or types of them that an artificial agent representing them might realistically have to carry out the terms of its algorithm(s) within. So I make note of these emerging realities here, and both to set them aside for the moment and to predict that a time is coming when an artificial agent versus human agent distinction will become moot, as far as capacity to make internally sourced and arrived at, independent decisions and actions are concerned. Then, the points that I raise here in this posting and series will apply equally to general intelligence-based agents and whether they are human or artifactual in nature.

All of this noted, I have been writing this series in terms of strictly-human agents. That need not be an entirely valid assumption and even now and it is becoming less and less so every year, and for both communications and for actions that might take place in response to them in a workplace. Nevertheless, the basic principles that I raise and address here, will likely apply across this new and emerging workplace context too. And I presume that most if not all of the key issues raised here will continue to apply as valid then too.

I write this for now, in terms of strictly human agents. And with that starting-point contextual framing for this series and its narrative in place, I continue it here from where I left off at the end of Part 9, where I have been writing of full time in-house employees, and outsider-sourced professional help that would include temps and temp workers, gig workers, outside consultants and others – who might in fact be carrying out essentially the same type of work as their in-house employee counterparts do, and who might be working at and for the same employer long-term, but who are nevertheless still considered to be outsiders and who are treated as such. This means they’re not being eligible for in-house employee benefits, and of a scope and range that just begins with company sponsored and supported healthcare coverage, sick days and vacation days and any retirement-oriented benefits offered.

I have been discussing this dichotomy of employee status and standing in this series and how it also impacts upon the issues of how these outsider employees are included or not, in the contexts of within-company, business communications and information access-driven business processes, and particularly where they involve a need to share and make distributed use of sensitive or confidential information. This distinction shapes how these people as at least nominal outsiders would be compartmentalized and treated in risk management-based information access due diligence systems, and both individually, and categorically as a group. And considering the individual employee versus group distinction just raised there, this means how special exceptions for allowing access to sensitive business intelligence, and a need for these special exceptions would be identified and considered.

I began a discussion of game theory strategies in Part 9, as they would arise and play out in enacting the points of distinction that I have just briefly listed here in this officially in-house versus officially outsider employee context. And I stated at the end of that installment that the basic game strategies in place among stakeholders involved in a business, and at all organizational levels in it:

• Are fundamentally driven by risk and trust assessments (as operationally defined and at least briefly discussed there),
• And as predictive assessments as to the actions that would be taken by individuals under direct consideration here, and others who they deal with, and the consequences of who would and would not be included in these business transactions and how.

And I added that I would proceed from there to at least begin to tie this developing line of reasoning back to the issues of communications in a business with an explicit focus on gig and other short-term and outsider employees, and certainly under circumstances in which hiring and onboarding on these and related bases have become the hiring and terms of employment norm at a business. And I stated that I would at least begin that line of discussion next, citing the more traditional stable place of employment context that this type of gig economy and its patterns of employment are developing from, and coming to supplement if not replace, as a source of contrasting reference points.

Let’s start addressing these topic points by considering a brief set of commonly adhered to fictions: points of assumption that are all but axiomatically assumed and by many still, that were once valid as such and all but universally so and across the wide swath of businesses and industries in place, but that have come to be much less certain and much less reliable as working presumptions, and for an ever-increasing range of the workplace experience:

• Full time, in-house employees enter into a business with an intention of staying there long-term and even throughout at least substantial portions of their work lives. And as such, they take on an active sense of commitment and involvement, as they see any success from working there that would accrue to them, as coming from the ongoing success of this, their employer. They assume a buy-in, proprietary position there in their thinking and take on something of an owner’s mentality, where alignment of their own interests and those of their employer, as they see them, come to be mutually supportive. And businesses that see their employees as at least one of their most valuable overall assets, for their experience and expertise there, take on a more collaborative approach towards those employees and certainly towards the more effective and productive of them, and the more important of them for maintaining the business and its competitive effectiveness moving forward.
• And outside help employees, and of whatever specific sub-type form (e.g. temp or outside consultant among other possibilities) are only going to be brought in to address immediate short-term needs. This might mean a more transient in-house staffing shortage in this business’ capacity to carry out some type of basic work that is more routinely carried out in-house, and where it would not be cost-effective to simply hire in-house to address peak period needs. Or this might mean bringing in specialized skills and experience expertise that might be needed now, but that would not be required on-tap, in-house on a long-term ongoing basis.

The longer an employee is going to be there and the longer they are going to be needed at a business, the more deeply entrenched in that business and its ongoing work flows they become, and both as they more deeply learn the systems there and as they become better known for what they can do and effectively so. And longevity of service there creates opportunity to build a foundation of trust when dealing with these employees from a business perspective, and a matching level of trust from those employees too as their employer demonstrates their appreciation for what these people can do.

Short term help is only brought in for specific task-related purposes, according to the paradigm outlined in the above two bullet points and continued up through this paragraph. And while trust might significantly enter into their carrying out their responsibilities there, it is less likely to become more generalized beyond the constraints of that specific task-based work assignment and in either an employer to employee, or an employee to employer direction. And in a practical manner, this might not matter and certainly as a due diligence consideration, and certainly when a temp or an outside consultant who is brought in to work on some specific task and time limited assignment comes into the business, does their planned out work there and then leaves the business to work elsewhere.

I just laid out a foundation in this posting’s narrative, and certainly in its second half for more fully discussing the issues raised towards the start of this narrative: the basic game strategies in place among stakeholders involved in a business, and at all organizational levels in it as they are driven by risk and trust assessments, and as predictive assessments as to the actions that would be taken by others, and their consequences as would arise from those decisions and actions taken.

• And tying together my more here-and-now and still just emerging comments regarding what has come to be called the emerging gig economy,
• And my still all too presumed (long term) in-house employee versus outsider help presumptions.
• What is an what is assumed begin to fundamentally break away from each other in this, as soon as a driving threshold level of employees are and will remain outsiders and never be brought in-house and as a basic business model decision.
• Or a pattern emerges where outsider employees are in fact brought in longer-term and even on an open-ended basis with an employer but with them remaining outsiders by default,
• Or both.

I will complete this posting’s main discussion thread as developed up to here in my next series installment, at least for purposes of this series. And I will then begin to explicitly tie its developing line of reasoning back to the issues of communications in a business with an explicit focus on gig and other short-term and outsider employees, and certainly under circumstances in which they have become the hiring and terms of employment norm at a business. And I will at least begin that line of discussion in my next series installment, citing the more traditional stable place of employment context that the gig economy and its patterns of employment are developing from, and coming to supplement if not replace, as a source of contrasting reference points. I have touched upon some of this here. I will dig deeper into these issues there and then.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory. And also see Social Networking and Business 2 and that directory’s Page 1 for related material.

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 10 – the jobs and careers context 9

This is my 10th installment to a series on negotiating in a professional context, starting with the more individually focused side of that as found in jobs and careers, and going from there to consider the workplace and its business-supportive negotiations (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 484 and following for Parts 1-9.)

I initially offered a to-address list of topics points at the end of Part 8, that variously address the issues of other stakeholders who a hiring manager would bring into the candidate selection and hiring process. And I repeat this list here, for smoother continuity of narrative as I continue addressing the issues that they raise:

1. Why would a hiring manager bring other stakeholders into what is essentially their hiring decision making step?
2. And closely aligned with that question: who would they bring into this process and what would these stakeholders discuss with a job candidate?
3. And how would their input and insight be used in making a hire-or-not decision?
4. And given these questions and their issues, how can you as a job candidate most effectively meet with, and communicate and negotiate with these people, each with their own reasons for being included here and each with their own goals and interests in this process, so as to help you to achieve your own desired goals out of this overall interviewing process?

See Part 9 for a discussion of Question 1, and a start to one regarding Question 2. And my goal for this posting is to complete my discussion of Question 2 and its possible answers, at least for purposes of this series, and then at least begin to delve into the issues raised by Question 3.

I wrote in Part 9 of within-team stakeholders: people who would be brought into this type of interviewing process as peers of whoever is hired for this position, who report to the same hiring manager and supervisor that this new hire would. And I wrote of outside stakeholders who a hiring manager has to effectively work with. These are in most cases, people who the hiring manager is in-effect working for at least for specific tasks or work processes, and on a service provider-to-client basis. Then I parsed the pool of possible stakeholders who might be brought into this in a second way. There, stakeholder interviewers might focus more on validating how well a potential new hire would fit in and how easily they could be worked with. Or alternatively, they might primarily focus on the issues of how effectively these candidates might be able to effectively contribute to the resolution of whatever goals-specific tasks or ongoing work processes that the hiring manager is to a significant degree responsible for getting done, that those stakeholder in effect own as their problems to be resolved.

I bring a third set of stakeholder selection criteria into this narrative here, when I add in the issues of office politics, and the need to be able to work with at least minimized social friction, with others in the business. This can mean more effectively meeting the needs and preferences of people higher up on the table of organization. But at least as importantly this can mean maintaining smoother and more mutually cooperative relationships with others in the business who might be at the same level of that table of organization as them, who this hiring manager would not want to displease by excluding their voice and opinion.

• Who does the hiring manager work for, and either in a chain of command, reporting and supervision manner, or through a service provider and client relationship?
• Who does the hiring manager depend on for service and support, and both for special task work or on an ongoing and more normative basis? There and in both cases, who is in a position to make life easier for this hiring manager, or create bottlenecks for them?

Most people who write of businesses and business processes and work flows, do so in terms of normative, expected and official processes and priorities and how they are arrived at and how they are met. In reality, politics always enters into all of this and a large part of office politics, at least as a more positive, is directed towards reducing friction and tension so work can get done and at what is at least ideally, the maximum level of comfort for all who enter into those political negotiations there. I set aside the issues of cliques and in-groups there, that by their very nature limit effective communication and collaborative cooperation across their boundaries, and simply note them here as an aside, that can also enter into who is and is not included as involved stakeholders in this, and I add in other business contexts as well.

I have written about idealized and realized business models with their systems of business processes and priorities, and how they arise and play out. For a most recent reference here for how I have done so, see Business planning from the back of a napkin to a formal and detailed presentation 24. Office politics can also lead to the types of divergences from the normally planned for and expected that I have been addressing there, and particularly when political considerations and their ongoing impact on the decision making processes in place, hold sway but as unacknowledged factors in that.

I add this final detail here to my response to Question 2, simply to indicate that the issues that I write of here in this posting can have implications and consequences that even the most savvy and aware, and thoughtful a job candidate would not be able to pick up upon and certainly in any actionably meaningful detail. So approach both possible future employers, and cutting ahead in my narrative here: current ones too for those hired, with an awareness that there is always more to learn and know about places of work. This applies to the dynamics at play that would govern decisions to bring specific stakeholders into a new hire interviewing process, and certainly when that means outsider stakeholders. But this only begins with that. Think of this concluding comment as an attempt to put the hiring process as a step in the jobs and careers pathway, into a fuller perspective. And with that noted, I turn to Question 3 of the above list, and consideration of how stakeholder interviewer input and insight are used in making a hire-or-not decision.

I am going to focus on that topics point in my next installment to this series, and begin that here by offering an orienting point of observation that I will build from moving forward.

• How the input and insight offered by these stakeholders would be used in making a hire-or-not decision, depends in large part, or even entirely for that matter, on the role that these colleagues play in that process as discussed in Part 9 and here, and the relationship that they have with the hiring manager who they would report their interview findings too. Their role and their acted-upon stake in this hiring decision process depends on what type of a stakeholder they are, from the hiring manager’s perspective and their overall relationship with them.

Then after completing my discussion of this topics point and the question that it is centered around, I will address Question 4 from the above list. And then I will proceed from there to discuss negotiations as to terms of employment, and with compensation and other factors definitely included in that, there assuming that the hiring manager you have met with has made a positive decision to bring you into the business as a new employee. Then, looking ahead, I will turn to consider the new hire probationary period.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Page 3 to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, and also see its Page 1 and Page 2. And you can also find this series at Social Networking and Business 2 and also see its Page 1 for related material. And I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

Business planning from the back of a napkin to a formal and detailed presentation 24

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on May 23, 2018

This is my 24th posting to a series on tactical and strategic planning under real world constraints, and executing in the face of real world challenges that are caused by business systems friction and the systems turbulence that it creates (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 578 and loosely following for Parts 1-23.)

I began addressing a set of topic points in Part 19 of this series, that I continue working my way through here in this installment too:

1. More systematically discuss how business operations would differ for businesses that follow one or the other of two distinctively different business models (see Part 19 through Part 21),
2. How the specific product offering decision-making processes that I have been making note of here would inform the business models pursued by both of these business types, and their overall strategies and operations and their views and understandings of change: linear and predictable, and disruptively transitional in nature (see Part 22 and Part 23.)
3. And I added that I would discuss how their market facing requirements and approaches as addressed here, would shape the dynamics of any agreement or disagreement among involved stakeholders as to where their business is now and where it should be going, and how.

My goal for this installment is to continue my discussion of Point 2 of that list. And I do so by repeating my initial, Part 19 starting description of the two businesses, and business models under consideration here:

• A hardware store: Alpha Hardware, that went through a more fundamental transitional change as it came to outgrow its original single storefront and its space restrictions there, to become a two storefront business with a more specialized Alpha Hardware and an Alpha Home Goods, and
• A cutting edge technology offering, business-to-business software development company: the e-Maverick Group.

I focused in Part 23, entirely on the second of those two example businesses: the e-Maverick Group, and how their very success in developing, marketing and selling access to their new software offerings, would force them to develop a realized business model that would in key and systematic and long-term ways, differ from their idealized and intended business model as briefly stated in the above description. In their case an actually realized versus intended and idealized business model distinction would hinge on how such a business would need to develop and maintain a perhaps large and active legacy systems support and maintenance system, in order to meet the ongoing needs of their current customers and keep them actively engaged with the e-Maverick group, while they were seeking to maintain their current technologies and until they were ready to plunge into New there again. And I stress here, and with my ongoing discussion in this blog in mind, a fundamental categorical point of distinction that can be used to classifying and understanding business processes and their support systems, as they fit into an organization:

• Business model supportive core functionalities that directly support the core business model, versus
• More cost center oriented, supportive business functionalities that assume what would be considered a more secondary if still necessary role there.

The e-Maverick Group business example and its narrative as it is presented here, indicates at least something as to how business areas that do not fit into an idealized business mission and vision, can in fact still represent a vitally important aspect of their overall core business systems, directly supporting their capacity for market strength and profitability. And the line of distinction drawn between these two business process categories on a business process and resource base, by business process and resource base basis, can in fact represent differences in idealized, and actually realized business models and how they would variously – and differently drive resource allocation and business understanding.

The basic and I add default presumption made in many if not most businesses for this, is that the idealized business model and an idealized and even cartoon-like understanding of their mission and vision, are of necessity going to be identical to what is realized and actually pursued in day-to-day and longer timeframe business practice. And that certainly holds true in larger and more complexly structured businesses where their more senior executive level planners can be largely removed in their actual day-to-day workplace experience, from the hands-on details of how their enterprise actually runs, and certainly on a local detail basis.

In reality, and over time, needs and opportunities faced can and do lead to drift there, between what is done and how, and what is expected and how, and certainly over longer timeframes of decision and action. And as an aside that is pertinent to lines of discussion offered elsewhere in this blog but that emerges as significant here too, this is one of the areas of business experience where a need for a true disruptive change business transition can become necessary – to help restore a more effective realized versus idealized business model alignment as I am addressing here, in its drift-apart and divergence alternative context. (See, for example my series: Rethinking Exit and Entrance Strategies, as can be found at Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 559 and loosely following.)

And with that offered, I turn to the specific set of issues that I indicated I would discuss here, at the end of Part 23:

• The issues of mapping out and understanding where idealized and realized might differ here, and how and with what impact, short-term and longer. And I will at least begin to address the issues of reconciling all of this, and integrating the functionally best of both current idealized and current realized into a new overall accepted and understood realized business model with its strategic and operational systems that become the new expected and idealized too.
• And as part of that, I will challenge some of the basic assumptions that do arise in businesses, and their consequences, that I sought to capture in my choice of “idealized” as a label here.

And I begin addressing the first of these two to-address bullet points, by focusing on two key words offered in it: “mapping out” where idealized and realized might differ here, and how and with what impact: short-term and longer. Ultimately, both of the above topics points derive their actual practical actionable value from how a business is thought through and systematically analyzed, and for what is in place and for what is done, and for what at least nominally should be in place and done, and for how all of that: piece-by-piece and as systematically organized, works or fails to.

I have discussed detailed business process and business performance review in this blog on an ongoing and recurring basis:

• Variously focusing on the issues of course correction and even overt change management, as it would be mapped out for need and opportunity,
• And focusing on more ongoing strategic and operational review as it would be carried out for longer term business planning and prioritization purposes.

For the second of these possibilities, consider annual four year forward strategic evaluation and planning exercises as would be carried out under the auspices and leadership of a business’ senior executive officers, and both for their own use and as a report to the board of directors. And consider the possible drift in understanding consequences that can and does arise there, when these exercises are even just selectively carried out as if in a vacuum, with gaps in necessary input from lower down on the table of organization allowed for, that no one in the executive suite might even be aware enough of to miss having there.

My goal for the next installment to this series, to return to the second of the initial two-address topics point as listed at the top of this posting, is to address its second half:

• … and their overall strategies and operations and their views and understandings of change: linear and predictable, and disruptively transitional in nature.

Ultimately, this means finding effective, flexible and agile approaches for reconciling idealized and realized into a new emergent planned for and executed norm. This might or might not mean entering into and carrying out a strategically planned for business transition, intended to bring the organization back on track as a more competitively effective presence in its industry and for its markets. Or this might simply be part of an ongoing business-tuning exercise for more dynamically maintaining business alignment and effectiveness and on a smoother, more ongoing basis. I will discuss these issues in the next installment in terms of both of the basic business model examples, as repeated in brief outline at the top of this installment.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory.

%d bloggers like this: