Long term success and the ways of managing

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”.

Leon C. Megginson*

How do organisations achieve success both in the short and long term? How does the company achieve a competitive advantage? What principles can be employed to increase levels of accomplishment? How can an organisation ensure that all the seeds of good ideas planted come to bear fruit? How does an organisation work in a professional manner to implement strategies and achieve the goals it sets itself? How does this organisation become the biggest, the best, the fastest and most beautiful? And above all, the smartest?

The truth is that nearly all organisations could work more effectively. Strategy is not only about formulating a plan. It is, above all else, about making those plans into reality and realizing their goals. Far too many companies fail to live up to their potential. Far too many companies fail to optimize their resources. Most organisations could function better, earn more money and satisfy more customers while maintaining a happier workforce. They could be smarter.

By using the principles of educational psychology in their strategic planning, companies can be significantly better at implementing those strategies – and achieving their goals. Put simply and concisely this is nothing new. It is a matter of shifting the focus of strategic planning from the discussion on how things should be done to following-up how things have been done, in order to draw lessons and make adjustments to find a better way forward.

During the course of evolution a host of functions have developed in the human brain that make it impossible to lead an organisation according to the well-established models many still use today. The human survival instinct has made us disposed to keep our heads below the parapet. It is built into our DNA. The fear centre in our orbital cortex is constantly warning us of all manner of dangers. This has served us well throughout the stages of what we know as evolution, but danger was easier to recognize during man’s early development when it was represented by a dangerous animal or the on-set of a hard winter.

In a world that changes ever faster and in a market that becomes ever harder to predict, these ingrained ways of thinking become a problem for any organisation that wants to remain on the cutting edge. In order to avoid getting stuck in a rut the company must learn to lay the ground work for its own future, while at the same time delivering in the market place of today. Organisations must make greater efforts to continuously and systematically challenge and update their existing structures and ideas. This requires both courage and competence.

Even though we have access to over a hundred years of research into the factors affecting human behavior, and on how what we have learnt can be used to help organisations to adapt and evolve, there are still very few companies applying this knowledge within their organisations. Those who do will find themselves in a prime position in the marketplace of the future.

This failure is often the result of a lack of understanding of the principles governing human behavior. There are different ways to create viable and high performing organisations. The organisation’s working methods may in themselves give a lasting competitive advantage.

All organisations can improve performance, achieve their goals and reach their full potential, irrespective of whether that means improving their fund base by increasing the return on capital, working to reduce accidents in the workplace, strengthening their brand, establishing a more innovative product development process or delivering an improved service at the same price.

* Darwin never said this. Although it is often attributed to him it is actually a summation of his thoughts on evolution.