BJ#5 Appreciation of Situations

Two key points with regards to "Appreciation of Situations" are:

1. Facing up the Realities
2. Know the Trends and Be Ready.

1. Facing-Up the Realities
a. Be Observant - Not be Blind-Sighted.
Most common mistakes of Corporations is to ignore the realities within and the changes in the external environment - the market place. We are admonished by Jesus to have good eyes and to be observant. Without sights, we will be in darkness and ignorance.
Mt 6:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. Mt 6:23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
i. Causes of Blind-sighted - Cause#1 Pride
The major cause of our blindness is pride. Pride says I am right; I am OK; I am better. Pride is presumptuous. It will ignore any signals to the contrary. It is no wonder that the Bible has a lot to say against the proud people. Someone says that "Good is the greatest barrier to Greatness". The greatest failure of many comes just after their initial successes. Peter said he would die with Jesus but when the reality struck, he denied Jesus three times. Elijah, just after his great success of killing the prophets of Baal, ran for his life when he heard that the queen was after his life. Samson was so sure of himself that he flirted his life away. However, I am not saying that we should go to their extreme of being in fear. It is facing with the realities of our strength and weaknesses as compared with the Market and Competitors.
ii. Causes of Blind-sighted - Cause#2 Fear
Another cause of our blind-sightedness is fear. It is the Ostrich way handling danger --- if I don't see it, it is not there! But reality is reality whether we see it nor not. It is better for us to see it clearly and earlier so that we can plan to overcome it. Jesus spent much time telling us not to fear - not to fear man or the future but to just have faith in Him. Courage allows us to see things clearly so that actions can be taken.
A good book is "Confronting Realities" by Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan --- "As a leader, you have to wrestle the behaviors of unreality to the ground not only for yourself but also throughout your organization."
b. Be observant - Not be misled
Mt 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16 "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?....
Here we have a warning that false-prophets will look like, camouflage as, the real ones. Outwardly, it is difficult to tell them apart - all look like sheep. But there are ways to tell the real ones from the false ones. You can judge them by their fruits. We should be wary of expert advices of consultants, industry gurus, etc. Many reviews are influenced by the advertising dollars behind them. It is typical for large corporations to fund 'independent' consultants to come out with reports that give good reviews for their products or services. Consultants are also influenced are what other say and creating a either an over-endorsement or an over-condemnation of products or trends. We need to do our homework - to trace the true cause-effects, getting first hand information at the source, asking not just one but a range of customers, see the outcomes not just believing the marketing or sales claims.
Please read "Seeing What's Next - Theory of Innovations" by Clayton Christensen showing how leading corporations are disruptively removed from market by new entrants and how to prevent it from happening.
c. Be Observant - Watch the External
Besides looking inwardly, one needs to look outwardly. Need to do "Environmental Scan" and do "Intelligence Collection". External should include the customers, suppliers, competitors, industry, government and its regulations, other countries, environmental, social, economical and political events.
Need to accedes to Jesus warning of "wolves in sheep clothing" that we must guard what is received: filtered lies, incorrect market intelligence, mistakes of experts, mistakes under pressure and any other things. Competitors could feed wrong information to media, consulting channels. and make over ambitious claims, etc.
d. Doing a Proper SWOT Analysis
We have 2 passges in the Bible that highlight this very well:
Lu 14:28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
14:31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Lu 14:32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace
The framework of SWOT analysis is easily available. Just do a google search for it. The problem lies in how we put in the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. Remember the earlier saying of facing up realities. To prevent our own prejudices and blind sightedness, our claims of SWOT must be validated from external means such as our customers, suppliers. fellow competitors, and outside consultants. Strength or Weaknesses should not be what we claimed but need to be compared against our competitors (a range of them) and customer claims.
The other error in SWOT Analysis is lack of following through. We are to come out with follow-on strategies where by we can use our strength to exploit the opportunities and also either overcome or convert the Threats to Opportunities. We are to come out with strategies to compensate for our weaknesses as well. Actually, strengths and weaknesses could be dependent on the market we are after. It may sometime be easier to change your markets so that it suits your profile where your so-called weakness could become a strength. A typical large corporation strength of economy of scale is also very weak in meeting the total special needs of his customers. In the world of giant corporations, there are many boutiques suppliers.
Please see my thinking blog http://mind-value.blogspot.com/ and http://www.bvotech.com/BVITS.htm for innovations.
2. Know the Trends and the Future.
Most people plan in situ, as if competitors are inanimate death objects, and as if the marketplace won't change. But Jesus tells us often to know what is coming and be ready for it.
Mat 24:25 "Behold, I have told you in advance Mk 13:23.
Be ready all the time:
Mar 13:36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
Read the signs and watch the trends:
Mat 16:3 ...'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?
How can we be ready all the time and any time ?
It is being watchful and be agile. Just being watchful is not enough. One needs to be agile and be ready to adapt and exploit the changes. One need not be super agile - but just need to be one step ahead of competitor.
There are changes happening all the time. One need not be catching up with all the changes. The key is to detect those that will become the major trends and quickly adapt and exploit them. Overcoming corporate inertia is a much discussed topic. Please read Geoffery Moore's "Dealing with Darwin" showing the market development curve (including crossing the chasm) of innovation and different stages of innovations needing different strategies.

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BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|--BJ#6 Strategies

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