After the recent economic downturn, today’s managements are focused on ways to grow their businesses. Greg Bustin, president of Bustin & Co., and author of Take Charge! How Leaders Profit from Change
, observed in an article in AMA’s quarterly journal MWorld
that many companies are having a hard time shaking the rust off their growth engines. Fortunately, he says, the problem is manageable. It involves a three-step process:
- Assessment of the company’s appetite for change
- Preparation of the organization for change
- Analysis to make the most of the business’s competitive advantage
In Bustin’s opinion, the first two steps can be addressed during the planning process. As he writes, “The best companies see the planning process as a springboard to identify and evaluate new opportunities, consider new strategies and discuss objectives that may at first seem unattainable.” But creating a safe harbor for what he calls “possibility thinking” overcomes risk aversion and encourages growth thinking.
To make the most of a business’s competitive advantage, Bustin tells clients to:
- Find their intrinsic competitive advantage. Bustin sees this as the responsibility of an organization’s leaders. Dig it out, he suggests, using the planning process as the tool.
- Think strategically, not tactically. Tactics without strategy is stupidity, observes Bustin.
- Do something meaningful, yet achievable. Begin with small but significant steps and build on these.
“Most leaders say they want to grow their business. The risk of not growing exceeds any risk associated with growing, because leaders that choose not to grow eventually cede market share and profits to the competition,” says Bustin. “Exceptional leaders understand their own appetite for change, and they understand how implementing proven approaches can drive their companies to generate profitable growth.”