Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Putting change in perspective 7 – adding in the positive or negative valence of change 1

Posted in business and convergent technologies, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on September 25, 2013

This is my seventh installment in a series on recognizing change and on evaluating its potential significance as it develops, so as to enable a more rapid and effective, and even a more proactive response (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3, postings 417 and loosely following for Parts 1-6.)

Up to here, I have been discussing change per se in this series, but without explicit detailed consideration as to whether it brings positive or negative impact. I have been discussing the scale of and a general three category classification of change but not its valence, or how that can differ depending on timing and context, and depending on whom this is viewed in terms of. My goal for this posting is to at least begin a discussion of these issues. And I begin by noting that different people, and the different organizations that they work for and lead can hold very different ideas as to what gain and loss, and a positive or negative value of change mean. And this impacts on both strategic and operational planning and execution and both as a business organizes and executes its own initiatives and in how it deals with others.

• Some business leaders and owners take a very zero-sum approach to gain, assuming that if one party gains in a transaction or other relationship process, other involved parties must correspondingly loose. According to this game theory paradigm, the overall positive value achievable in any given interaction is in effect fixed in advance, and the only question is in who gains what share of it, and who correspondingly it stuck with what levels of corresponding loss. And when the senior managers and leaders, and the owners of a business assume this, the effect is that their business strategically and operationally does too, as that assumption enters into every transaction that it participates in.
• Some business leaders, on the other hand, assume that win-win resolutions can at the very least almost always be reached, and that the overall maximum level of gain that can be created out of a transaction is changeable and expandable, and at any point in the transaction process. And they in practice build their strategic and operational processes around this approach and certainly as they evaluate and enter into relationships with others, whether that means working with supply chain and other business partners, or consumers in a marketplace.

I begin this posting by raising the issues of how important it is to know what you and your business assume here and why, and whether you follow one of these approaches or a more hybrid and situational approach. And when you enter into transactional relationships with other businesses or organizations, and with the marketplace and your potential customers it is important that you understand how they would approach this too and what they assume. In what follows I assume a basic, sufficient congruence in understanding here, so that transactions can take place and business processes can proceed without being caught up in the friction of misunderstanding as to whether change can bring mutual benefit or not. At the very least I assume here that if explicit agreement cannot be reached for that, awareness and understanding of differences can be, allowing for successful strategies for working around these differences in creating as much mutual positive value as possible.

• These issues can and do arise when working with businesses outside of your business’ own core industry and they can arise with greater impact when working across barriers of language and culture.
• But even when friction here is a real possibility, it is usually possible to negotiate and to do business successfully, and successfully for all involved parties. One of my goals here for this portion of this series is to help develop tools for improving the odds of that happening.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will begin to add in factors such as timing and context and how they can determine, or even reverse positive/negative valence that would arise from a change, and whether that change arises from a trade transaction or from dealing with innovation or other change that happens in your business or its context. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 2 and at the first page to that directory. And you can also find this and related material at Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and at Page 1 and Page 2 of that directory.

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