Priorities in the Business Strategy Life-Cycle: Phase 2: Stabilization vs. Growth

In Phase 2, Stabilization and Growth run on strong parallel tracks, offering conflicting priority for management.

On the one hand, business operations must be stabilized to actually deliver the value proposition (quality according to professed benefits, and on-time and to-budget .  Failing to deliver on promises can quickly undermine the value proposition and the brand-equity that customers have placed in the enterprise.  If there were more safe choices (i.e. the proverbial “IBM” decision), then failing to deliver puts the purchasing agent in a bad light, making him or her less likely to depend on the new enterprise for future needs (thus reinforcing the axiom of “the IBM decision”).*

On the other hand, growth has some elements of “striking while the iron is hot.”  Growth is required in order to assure cash flow for a tenuously-backed enterprise.  Growth allows the enterprise to secure market position, and reap the ready rewards of entry into a given market.

So the executives of the organization fight a battle of principles to stabilize the business operations, while putting tremendous effort into growing sales and marketshare.

Because each enterprise is unique, it is foolish to articulate a cookie-cutter position regarding the appropriateness of placing emphasis on one or the other of the two horns of this dilemma.

Rather, the necessities and opportunities inherent in each individual enterprise should dictate the proper response.  Only a thorough analysis of any individual situation would yield actionable intelligence with regard to how to prioritize and focus energy and resources into these two needs.

* NOTE:  An “IBM decision” is so-named because in the early days of IT, when there were a few brave competitors to the massive “Big Blue,” even though these competitors could provide better features and benefits than could IBM, and could adapt the IT systems to better suit the unique needs of the client, “nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM.”  So the purchasing agents had to have a damn good reason to go out on a limb and buy from a competitor of IBM.  In some instances, the purchasing agents made a good decision, because the untried vendor delivered and everyone was happy.  In other instances, the purchasing agents made a bad choice, because the upstart vendors failed to deliver.  Hello fiasco, goodbye career.

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