From the Ask Tom mailbag.
Ever since the recession, our company has been scrambling. There was a time when things were calmer, predictable. Now, our management meetings seem disorganized, we are all over the place, decisions are haphazard. We have an agenda, we follow the agenda, but our direction seems muddled.
You are clearly in the deep stages of Go-Go. You describe a normal organization, out of the start-up phase, yet still struggling out of its cocoon. And many companies were put here by the recession.
During the recession, our focus shifted from operating systems toward survival and sales. Get some sales, nothing else mattered. Get sales and get profitable.
To survive, we chased rabbits, abandoned our core, taking any opportunity that created a sale. We are now entrenched in opportunity seeking, reactive in our behavior.
We did this because we had to. We had no choice. We had to survive.
The counter-intuitive move is to slow down and think. Our markets have moved, they are different, now. Things are improving (slowly). There are patterns of viability forming and we have to pay attention. Market analysis is the next step. We have to move from being an opportunistic predator to an intentional sleuth. As our markets return, we have to understand their new patterns and adapt our internal systems carefully.
Logistically, this means drawing new pictures and flow charts, identifying market needs, not one-off opportunities. As we draw this picture, our market will become clearer and our decisions will make more sense.