Sustainable strategies for the future: Management, innovation and humanisation

The endeavour to build competitive organisations has become increasingly complex, and so, linking business projects must be linked to their own identity in order to shore up the capacity for developing business projects over the long-term. What is needed is a sense of direction and management flexibility, as well as an ongoing drive for innovation and differentiation, all within a structured context built around a community of people within the organisation.
Business leaders face the constant challenge of devising sustainable growth strategies in a highly competitive environment, which is in continual evolution. Theirs is an environment of swift changes in market and consumer behaviour, geographical and technological transformations, rapid developments in information exchange and the arrival of new operators in most industries in the global economy, all at an unprecedented rate.
This is also true of the mechanisms of ‘strategy making’ which are varying constantly. The old way of strategic planning, (hermetic, linear and predictable in behaviour), is fast becoming a relic of the past. Business strategies are shaping up to be long-term road maps, yet with huge emphasis on continuous management and adaptation. Strategic flexibility thus becomes a management paradigm for sustainability and growth of business projects. Organisations need to, then, develop a more dynamic focus and business leaders need to aim for flexibility and persistence in managing the organisation. As a result, successful organisations in the future will be those whose leaders remain steadfast in the face of uncertainty and capable of effectively managing change.

A breath of fresh air in business management

A sophisticated art; this is what business management is becoming today due to the constant transformation which underpins the rules of the game of many business activities. The unshakable position of many traditional industry leaders is cracking under the pressure of new competitors who are innovating with their own business models, by alternating their value proposition and how they are structured in daily operations.
Furthermore, today, players from emerging economies are not satisfied with merely joining the international competition; instead they constantly question and disrupt it. The struggle for attracting and retaining talent is one of the most intense challenges worldwide. What a wonderful time for true business management and the development of long-term sustainable growth strategies!
It is precisely at a time such as this, a time of crisis or growth slowdown, which we are experiencing now, when the logics and praxis of business dynamics require greater coherence. This is one of the basic tenets of business management. Solid business projects in leading companies are deeply impregnated with a quasi-permanent sense of direction, and a series of guiding principles of consolidated management. They are characterised by coherence in the decision-making process established within the course set for the organisation, where the long-term view takes priority over the short-term view so notable in the day-to-day operations of many companies.

Business Models

As Professor Gary Hamel states in his latest book “The Future of Management”, competition in the future will fundamentally be in Business Models, which is the designing and structuring of a unique project, differentiated from main competitors. There is no other differentiating factor in the new competitive international context than that of an original business model which seeks out new clients or to cater to their unattended needs with a specific value proposition supported by people and their talent.

Therefore, the most innovative organisations who are drawing up sustainable long-term business projects share a number of common characteristics which boost their capacity to compete:

1) They have longer action timelines than their competitors;
2) They are more focused on the market and the unattended needs of potential clients, based on very powerful competencies and capabilities-closely connected to strategy and company operations;
3) Innovation options are evaluated more from a strategic viewpoint and less from their relationship with financial performance measures;
4) They take a more experimental rather than analytical approach to the market;
5) They have a higher tolerance for failure in innovation;
6) They place importance on learning by doing;
7) Each and every one of the employees knows the implication of innovation in their work;
8) The most sophisticated consumers or the real observation of their behaviour is incorporated into innovation processes in the initial stages of the project;
9) Coherent innovation management systems are in place.

The people in the organisation

An organisation’s mission is tremendously conditioned by how we structure and manage the active participation of people in business projects. I personally consider it important to endeavour to structure organisations as Communities of People by creating mechanisms of participation, responsibility, cooperation, as well as attracting and retaining talent. These factors collectively would contribute towards the design of a specific identity of an organisation within a distinctly unique business model, non-transferable to other organisations.
An organisation’s mission is tremendously conditioned by how we structure and manage the active participation of people in business projects. I personally consider it important to endeavour to structure organisations as Communities of People by creating mechanisms of participation, responsibility, cooperation, as well as attracting and retaining talent. These factors would collectively contribute towards the design of a specific identity of an organisation within a distinctly unique business model, non-transferable to other organisations.

In communities, there is a voluntary exchange and collaboration amongst its members which is governed by norms and values which in turn are shaped by working and living together. The capacity and willingness of a community’s members to collaborate actively with others is more far-reaching than any notice-board posts or absurd, detailed job descriptions. Members are more autonomous and are more motivated by peripheral impulses than by the basic nucleus, tending to favour human relations and gestalt enrichment, such as emotions and knowledge. The most successful companies are those who adopt a management style based on these principles.
In fact, organisations structured around people are those which have the greater potential of developing sustainable business strategies. This implies the existence of a new model of participation and involvement of people in organisations, creating new forms of property, of governance in organisations, as well as management of talent and knowledge exchange within organisations. Consequently, we must engender a milieu which favours the humanisation of our organisations which would allow the enrichment of people, without sidestepping the organisation’s sustainable development in future.

All things considered, we can see that not only is the struggle for attracting and retaining talent quite a widespread one among entrepreneurs, but it is also going to be a management priority in coming years. Although, the meaning will differ radically from organisation to organisation, in my opinion, the success of companies in their endeavour to attract and retain talent will depend upon a company’s attractiveness in terms of humanisation. This means that people will feel they play a leading role in the future of their organisation, where responsibility and freedom are not mutually exclusive, and where business transformation is continuous and not traumatic.

Seven Traits of a Sustainable Development Strategy:

1. A clearly defined and differentiated identity in a competitive environment.
2. Constant commitment to innovation.
3. An agreed process of growth and internationalisation.
4. An intensification of commitment to accumulation and dissemination of information.
5. A permanent sense of exploration and curiosity for new markets, products and innovative management mechanisms.
6. Organisational structures as Communities of People.
7. A network of collaborators and partners who boost the internal capabilities of the company.

Sabin Azua

Leer el curriculum en este enlace

Read Sabin´s CV here

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