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'.

THE STATE OF THE UNION by Ardon Schambers - visit website

_ I watched the President’s State of the Union Address, which I do every year. I know I could get a summary and spend less time. However, I believe I should listen and get the information first hand, and not let six other people interpret what he said, each with their own spin or perspective.  I also never listen to the opposing party response. This latter process is just one more of the political practices that is pulling this country apart.  I don’t see we gain anything by these politicians getting air time to express their view. This was not the intent of the State of the Union Address. If the public listens to the speech, they can decide what they like, what is not good and whether they support where the president wants to go.

Now let’s get to some of the positions he presented. He seems to want to support a stronger manufacturing base in the country. Do I hear anyone against that? Not many, especially if they can make a reasonable return on their investment. We ought to be able to put in place the incentives and disincentives to support this objective. Other countries look out for their industry, why not us? The rangle seems to be about how to do this.  The opposition wants only their way, which seems almost as vague as some of the outlined approaches by the President.  My position is this, give him the rope he has asked for, some true support, and if it doesn’t work in a reasonable timeframe, (not the foolish expectation that business can turn on a dime), then you can say his policies don’t work and you get the same chance.

His second big push is for education of the populace.  That makes sense too. If you talk to recruiters many will say they can’t find folks with the skills. Most believe it will get worse.  To some extent this is a chicken and egg scenario, we can stick with what we have and “bitch” about the welfare programs that raise the debt, or we can spend the money on making these people value society’s assets through education and stop the compounded support programs that are frequently necessary that happen numerous times.  It requires that we invest in people and spend upfront. They will pay taxes, buy things and not be a drain on society. What is the sacrifice? What if we traded two planes and an aircraft carrier for a 25% reduction in junior college tuition? There must be workable tradeoffs. 

We need people in Washington and Lansing who can be visionaries about something other than finding a job for themselves for the election period. Let them work towards jobs and prosperity for the rest of us. By the way has anyone ever considered letting Congress Reps have a four year seat so they can actually do some work instead of just campaigning for the full two years? We could pay for a lot of things with the money we would save on campaign financing.


    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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