Monday, 21 May 2012

Unblocking Potential - Part 2. Internal risks

This is the second post where I am looking at ways that a business could be blocking its own potential and making suggestions for unblocking the ideas, creativity and innovation that fuels future business success.

2.     Internal risks

‘Safe is risky’
Seth Godin

Business Intelligence has become big business.  Companies, quite rightly, want to analyse data they collect from customers, suppliers, distributors and employees so that they make informed decisions about investment in products and services and sales and marketing strategies.  Business systems age and are replaced b ever more sophisticated and expensive back-end software that integrates everything from financial reporting to inventory control.

Some businesses spend so much time and effort focusing on improving business intelligence systems and analyzing data to within an inch of its existence in order to try to reduce or even eliminate risk in decision making – to make ‘safer’ decisions.  This doesn’t always have the desired effect.  Building or rebuilding these systems can sometimes be a risk in itself – and not just a financial one.  In extreme cases the focus of the business slips becomes internal.  Vast armies of staff are assigned to ‘change agendas’ that require them to focus on internal systems. The company becomes so focused on internal issues that it loses its focus on the customer.  This means that opportunities go unnoticed and customer interest can slip away.

Part of any business strategy is risk analysis and mitigation.  While all companies must take internal risks to modernise or improve, it is also necessary to identify external, customer facing risks.  It seems like an obvious thing to say, but the customer must be at the centre of focus.

The risk of not taking customer-facing risks in today’s rapidly changing markets is high.

‘Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
            Erich Fromm


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