Is it ever 'Business as Usual"?


This morning I attended a presentation put on by the Family Business Alliance.  I was prepared for a program that was informative and well done, but what I observed was something much more than that. I typically avoid attending programs that cover the usual “hot topics”.  I find it is often difficult to get as much value from them as I should, primarily because it is difficult to put their ideas into the context of what my clients urgently need.  The end result is that after a few hours and more so, after a few days, I’ve generally forgotten most of the salient points discussed.

Sometimes the best value is the indirect impact

However, today I was impressed in that the critical points were ones that can provide great value to an organization over time and therefore are worth revisiting on a regular basis. Although, the audience today was made up primarily of family owned businesses, and the discussion revolved in that realm, the truths seemed to have application to most organizations.

The speaker was Greg McCann, author, professor, and business owner. Throughout his presentation he would say, “If you are taking notes, write this down.” and so we would.  One such item I liked a lot: Culture will defeat strategy every time.  I also heard some wise insights mentioned by the audience. One of those that I thought highly insightful concerned why a member attended the various events. He said, “It was not so much about what he learned, but that such events usually got him thinking.” To me this was very notable.  So many of us just want someone to give us the answer and so we seek out the “Hot Topic” discussion.

Change is Upon Us.

A few years ago, I started keeping a list each January describing what I perceived as change over the prior year. Although interesting to me, I’ve discovered how inadequate my practice is. During todays program we viewed a You-Tube clip to emphasize the “exponential” change that is surrounding us.  Watch this and you’ll see why I may have to revamp my practice.

What YOU Must Do

The real point about the video is that we have to be visionary about our businesses, where we are going and how we are going to get there. Without a plan we will be sitting on the sidelines much sooner than we ever dreamed and it has nothing to do with the recession. A strategic plan is an absolute necessity. As part of that plan you have to identify your strategic advantage,  who is responsible to look after and manage the advantage and also the plan itself.

And remember that culture trumps strategy, so they have to be aligned. Communication and actions are the keys to management of culture. So, if you see today as getting back to business as usual, you are what they call 'Dead Meat'.

How Times Change by Ardon Schambers - visit website

_                              The Year End

Not unlike many year-end radio and TV programs who try to consolidate the events of the past year, who died and what scandals occurred etc.,  I’ve begun to keep an annual list of changes that I have observed which covers:
  • Inventions
  • The political landscape
  • How we eat, or dress
  • Plus a variety of other things that seem to stand out
There have been a lot of things and the evolution seems to be fairly rapid and getting more so. I have to admit it is hard to keep a balanced view as to whether things are getting better or worse. I believe if we take too short a view, it seems as if we are heading down a bad trail.

1.   Anxiety

This perception I believe is due in part because every time we break away from some accepted norm or standard, it causes us discomfort. We are cast apart a little bit from what we know or at least what we think we know and we need to get connected to the new rules and surroundings. If it is one or two minor changes, it’s not too bad, but when the changes are many or we experience a couple of major points of instability, we get pretty anxious.

2.   Historical

However, if we stand back and look at how things have progressed over the long haul, we might find we’ve actually made some good progress.  The excesses seem to get reined back in, cooler heads prevail and society bumps into the next cycle of evolution.  I recently saw a collection of old ads for various products and services. Certain segments of our population would be appalled by those types of promotion today. A new book and a TV show about how and why railroads came into being in this country with the high negative costs to society, make you wonder if those behaviors could happen again today. Some have noted the similarities to some organizations, but at least peoples’ lives are not being trampled.  

3.   Short Term

Then there are the social issues of detention camps for the Japanese and many of the aspects of discrimination against non-whites.  Yes, we have the issues of Guantanamo and the immigration matters to be resolved, but I believe that such extreme circumstances as we have had in the past are not likely to come about again.  So, I do believe that society is getting better. It’s just harder to see in the short term when we have to look through the wreckage of a difficult economic period and fighting new kinds of wars.

4.    Optimism

Maybe the old saying is true, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. You just have to find a way to survive. Start with a positive attitude and outlook. People find what they expect to find. What better way to start a new year.  

Tell us one positive change you will make....


    Ardon Schambers has 39 years of professional HR experience and is a Principal of P3HR Consulting & Services, LLC

    Mike Blake has over 15 years of safety and leadership experience in industry with extensive transportation expertise.

    Jim Kohmescher worked in both the private and public sectors in human resource management positions. He has a Master's degree and served as an adjunct college instructor.


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