Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Rethinking exit and entrance strategies 26: keeping an effective innovative focus while approaching and going through significant business transitions 16

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on April 9, 2018

This is my 26th installment to a series that offers a general discussion of business transitions, where an organization exits one developmental stage or period of relative strategic and operational stability, to enter a fundamentally different next one (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 559 and loosely following for Parts 1-25.)

I began Part 25 of this with a briefly stated to-address list of topics points, which I repeat here as reorganized into bullet point format:

• Realized and possible work scheduling conflicts, and breakdowns as can arise from them, and how they can arise, and how their occurrence can be at least managed and limited, as a risk management effort (with this all at least broadly and categorically discussed in Part 22, Part 23 and Part 24. And I continued that line of discussion in Part 25 too, where I focused on the issues of business process and business systems level stressors, as arise in, and as are in turn caused by the types of scheduling and resource utilization break downs under consideration here.
• And fall-backs and building for a capacity to “fail gracefully”: here in a scheduling and work coordination context, when need for that becomes necessary – as it inevitably does for any business for at least some of its work processes and tasks if it persists long enough.

My goal for this posting is to at least begin a more detailed discussion of the second of those two bullet pointed topics areas, doing so in terms of my responses to the first of them, as developed over the immediately preceding four postings to this series. And I add that I will also do so with a specific focus on an area of consideration that I raised but did not adequately explore in those four earlier postings, even as I cited it in my first to-address bullet point as offered above: risk management analysis and its execution.

I begin with the obvious, or at least with what should be the obvious: unexpected problems and challenges happen. And these can and with time will arise. Some of this will occur for reasons and to degrees of impact that in retrospect at least, might have been at least limited and somewhat controlled for by the business that faces them, and by their managers and hands-on employees. But these challenges can also arise from outside sources, and from sources that might be at least somewhat predictable for their likelihood but not for when they might arise. Or they might arise without any realistic possibility of prior planning and preparation for them on anyone’s part, as truly disruptively novel events.

I often find myself writing in this blog about resilience and agility in a business. Ultimately, this is all about actively cultivating a Plan B mentality in your planning and execution, with alternatives and their possibilities allowed for and supported in case the more routine and automatically pursued Plan A that is intended, breaks down or becomes irrelevant from sudden change in circumstance. Fragile, or if you will brittle businesses, and there are way too many of them, are enterprises that at the very least maintain gaps and blind spots in their capacity to find and switch to a Plan B and that do not realize this, and even recurringly as they find themselves attempting a more reactive recovery from “sudden” problems and challenges faced, and with little real chance of quickly at least, reverting to a more proactive approach again.

Failing gracefully, as noted in my above bullet point, is all about knowing where and when to, and how to fall back from a more routine Plan A approach to a Plan B alternative. And this applies whether that Plan B has been explicitly thought through in advance and in detail as addressing a more predictable and knowable possible point of failure and breakdown, or whether this means being prepared to bring the right stakeholders together on the fly, to arrive at a mutually agreeable, at least preliminary Plan B remediation for what has arisen as the unexpected and even the unpredictably unexpected.

This is where an explicit consideration of risk management enters this narrative, and that will be my topic of discussion in my next installment to this series. In anticipation of that, I am going to explicitly use my business systems resource usage and availability model, as addressed and outlined in recent series installments leading up to here, in that installment. And as a core element to its line of discussion, I will take that planning and business modeling approach out of the abstract with some real world scenarios, and with at least briefly framed analyses of business process alternatives that would be called for in them. There, risk management analysis is all about alternatives and finding the most further-risk reducing and least costly ways around, or if necessary through challenges faced. And I will go on from there, to reconsider exit and entrance strategies per se again, this time from the perspective of this developing narrative.

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

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