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Monday, April 7, 2008

Chaotic Structures and Success...

by David Bookout

The chaos theory, popularized by the movie Jurasic Park, is alive and well in some companies today.

To some, this is just fine. To others, like myself, this isn't a good thing, and I can't help but wonder if the proliferation of chaotic business structures has in some way been brought on by our quest for diversity, spontaneity, and the freedom of all people to do what they "want" whenever they want.

Our focus is to explore the value of a highly effective, efficient business structures over chaotic, potentially ineffective structures, and highlight things that you can do as an owner, executive, or manager within a small to medium enterprise ( SME ) to increase productivity and profitability, while still nurturing, and empowering your workforce.


( Shot while looking in the wrong direction )

Scenario C:

Strategic alignment is off. The company has a business strategy, no market strategy, no brand strategy, and a chaotic communication strategy. Overall awareness in the community is weak. Interest in the company's offers are low, and management doesn't have a clear vision of the next essential steps needed to increase sales on a broad scale.

A 7 step plan is developed to produce strategic alignment and implementation begins. The company secures a multi million dollar order that had been in the works for some time, and begins hiring.

Part of the strategic implementation plan calls for elevating the company's web presence and beginning to take online orders for products and services. A new site is built.

New hires, experienced in and accountable for other sectors of the business, begin to complain that they don't "like" the new website. Instead of focusing on improvements in their own functional areas they spend hours speculating about and designing a new web site design to present to the C.E.O.

Meanwhile the C.E.O., blinded by the company's recent success, and forgetful of the fact that he had missed his revenue projection promise to the board by more than 50%, decides to refocus his efforts on ultra large orders from rock star type clients. Despite the fact that the company has never received a single order from this type of client the C.E.O. plans to direct the others to take on his responsibilities, and overlooks the fact that these people will not have demonstrated success in their new roles either.

Upon presentation of the new web site plan to the C.E.O. he decides to share the plan with the V.P. of Marketing and declare his endorsement. Perhaps adding to his forgetfulness the C.E.O. doesn't include the fact that the company has not produced a return on the investment to build the current website. In their discussions the V.P. chooses to focus on gaps in functionality on the current site. The C.E.O. declares there aren't any and insists on imposing his "artistic" capabilities in "knowing" that the new site is the thing to do.

Concurrently, another functional leader, who seems to have extra time on their hands, has decided that there is a "distinct science" in direct mail campaigns and introduces a "friend" that specializes in this area to the C.E.O. The 7 part plan provided for the reduction of direct mail campaigns, and an increase in electronic mail campaigns to reduce operational costs, and conduct some market research in the process. Again, the C.E.O. forgets this, and instead confronts the Marketing V.P. with a "new plan".

Our next installment will focus on the effects of these behaviors.

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