Fit for purpose or fit for failure - a summary

Fit for purpose or fit for failure – a summary

25 June 2019 By 0 Comments

In the previous 3 articles we have looked how businesses  who are entering a new market have to adapt their people strategy  in order to reflect the differing stages of the business development. This blog attempts to pull all these strands together.

In many respects the development of a business can be likened to early explorers who were charting new ( to them at least)  territories and developing them into full blown trading  businesses.

In stage 1 the business is similar to the early explorer  going up river in a canoe. This person is blessed with a large degree of self confidence, is experienced in similar circumstances and is prepared to suffer some inconveniences in his quest. The business professional ideally suited to this role is someone of a similar disposition, happy to begin the first stage of a project, prefers loose chains of command and is a risk taker with a proven record. This professional, because of his track record, is trusted by the organisation. He attracts like minded souls to work him including some new recruits with a sense of adventure who see opportunities for development and responsibility at an early stage of their career.

In stage 2 the business, taking this example further, is looking to establish a permanent physical presence in the market ( a trading fort to extend the  comparison introduced in stage 1 above). Here the needs of the business take on a wider aspect because the people working for the enterprise at this stage need to be proven administrators, used to complex business decision making, developing strong links with the local community , training and developing local staff and playing a role in the local community , often within a CSR framework. These people are very different in temperament and skill from the ideal stage 2 person. Not better , just different

In stage 3 the enterprise has a an established physical presence in the market but now sees the need to grow that presence either through improved performance or by acquiring local businesses or often through a combination of both. We are now at the stage of development where seasoned people from the business are present in the market, capable of making strategic decisions re expansion , often refocusing the business which can lead to job losses and more understanding of the needs of the bottom line and willing to be judged as such. Experienced in all corporate systems and structures these people can be seen as safe hands by HQ, often many miles away in different time zones. Local talent has been developed and many hold relatively senior positions in their local market or as expats elsewhere.

Many enterprises make the mistake of putting square pegs into round holes. This rarely works and the better more successful enterprises recognize the stages above and manage their businesses accordingly. They stand a far better chance of success than those that do not.

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