Priorities in the Business Strategy Life-Cycle: Phase 4: Sustainability

Remember* [see end-note]

As the organization becomes better coordinated and gets leaned out, management turns its attention beyond fine-tuning the mechanics of the organization to sustainability.  And as mechanisms to achieve that goal, management starts focusing on leadership and culture.

Now, in my opinion, this focus  should have been running parallel to all the other phases.  If this were so, fewer companies would have the significant problems they have in later phases.  I am not alone in my view.  None other than John Allison—CEO of BB&T the 11th largest bank in the country—focused from his early years (late 1980’s) on building a culture of well-reasoned values that would attract and support people and decisions that lead to success.

During that time, Allison transformed the bank from an Eastern North Carolina bank with $4.7billion in assets to a “super-regional bank” with over $152 billion in assets.  He and his team had to have a strong sense of who they were, what they stood for, and how they would act as BB&T acquired numerous community banks, financial management firms, and insurance agencies.  Without that coherence of leadership consonant with values, and a culture that would manifest the company values, BB&T would not have been able to assure the proper delivery of the Value Proposition congruent with the BB&T brand.

Yet, the demands that many business entrepreneurs place on themselves to acquire profits and stabilize the vale stream often relegates thinking about culture and leadership to steerage-class concepts.  Once the bridge of “successful venture” is crossed, the priority will shift to sustainability, and that naturally brings up the issues of leadership and culture.

It is beyond the scope of this posting to discuss these issues.  Look around and you’ll find intelligence regarding those topics.

Suffice it to say that whether turning attention to this critically important area is a first-time concern, or an ongoing concern, it is a priority that has immense import to the sustainability of the enterprise.

* Remember, that each organization is unique, as is its marketplace conditions.  The phases that are described in these posts can be transitted concurrently, or in somewhat different order than the stated generic model.  For instance, a high-tech company may have to think through the value-stream in Phase 1 in order to have a viable business-model that depends on delivering with such efficiency within the value-stream that a “value-price’ becomes a key differentiator.  Or, Scalability of a value stream may become a major factor in Phase 2 due to the need to assure stable operational processes during sudden growth so concurrent priority may be placed on Value stream refinement.

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