'No More Business As Usual' is about change, about choice and about unlimited possibilities. In particular, it presents a new way of generating innovative business and leading a life that is a significant departure from the status quo and conventional approach.
Five Key Points
1. Every organization must develop innovation as a key strategy. If they don’t, they definitely won’t survive the fast velocity of change that transpires in the world today. Innovation is key to your success no matter what your business is. Innovation is the only path to growth, prosperity and business sustainability.
2. Maintaining a business as usual model in an increasingly precarious business environment and during times of rapid, disruptive change can be a recipe for disaster. Leaders must relinquish any business model that anchors the business firmly to the past and shift the focus to future possibilities.
3. Business leaders must have the skill and insight to prepare for a future that’s rushing at them faster than ever before. Being a Pragmatic Futurist and expanding the power to shape futures is more important than ever in our world of accelerating transformation.
4. Innovative capability is the single most vital leadership competency for future success. It is a skill like any other, and like other skills, it can be developed. There is no genetic or neurological basis for the ability to innovate.
5. The three key conceptual building blocks of the No More Business As Usual paradigm are: Conscious Leadership, Strategic Awareness, and a Prosperity perspective. To prosper and thrive in the decade ahead, leaders have to think differently about reinvigorating their business.
Can you briefly explain the concept of No More Business As Usual?
We use the term ‘Business As Usual’ to denote conventional business models and paradigms. ‘Business As Usual’ consists of all the conventional business models in existence today.
In ‘Business As Usual’ paradigms, industry boundaries are defined and accepted. The underlying economic assumptions for ‘Business As Usual’ are that successful businesses are a zero-sum game, and the competitive rules of the game are mandatory and unavoidable. They are bounded by contextual reality. There’s a compulsive need to fit in, to benefit, and to win, accompanied by the simultaneous fear of losing. They are content to comply with the rules and be in agreement with contextual reality. This ‘Business As Usual’ mindset induces companies to fight for more and to treat others as competitors rather than focusing on what contribution the business can be to their customers, to the community, to the society, and to the world at large.
‘No More Business As Usual’, in contrast, denotes all the organizations that are willing to let go of all the timeworn conventional business models that keep their business from being remarkable. They do not follow conventional business models that are based on contextual reality. They have stopped functioning on autopilot and are choosing to generate their business from strategic awareness and prosperity consciousness.
‘No More Business As Usual’ strategies are where competition is immaterial because organizations are able to function beyond this contextual reality. They recognize that there are infinite possibilities for growth that is both profitable and generative. ‘No More Business As Usual’ strategies enable organizations to become aware of future trends and how these trends may affect their business. Rather than closing their eyes to forewarning indications and hoping that things don’t change too much, they are able to break with their conventional practices according to contextual reality, and recognize that they have different choices.
‘No More Business As Usual’ strategies provide a systematic approach to break out of the bind of contextual reality, to see beyond current realities, to perceive other possibilities and to become strategically nimble and dynamically innovative.
‘No More Business As Usual’ strategies equip companies with frameworks, tools and adeptness to create their business from the edge of infinite possibilities. The book ‘No More Business As Usual’, however, tackles not only the challenge of how to create ‘No More Business As Usual’ strategies, but also the equally important challenge of how to execute these ideas in any organisation.
What is Contextual Reality?
Contextual reality is a reality where you exist only in the context of something else. You are always trying to locate yourself in the structure of what everyone else believes reality is. Contextual reality requires you to be in a constant state of judgment of you and your business because you have decided that the contextual reality is greater than you.
You are creating your business based on contextual reality when you are constantly thinking: Where do I fit? Where do I benefit? Where do I win? Where do I lose? As long as you are looking for answers to these questions, you are seeking context. You are looking for the reason why something is occurring rather than being aware. When you function from contextual reality as though it is real, you create immense limitations in your business.
Contextual reality carries certainty and predictability—but no sense of the opportunities that are possible. When you create business by trying to put it in context with everything else, there is no question, no choice, and no other possibility.
What is it about contextual reality that makes it so limiting?
When you function from contextual reality as though it is real, you create limitations in your business. How could attempting to place yourself in the correct context of this reality where your decisions are guided by collective points of view do anything other than position your business to the mean average?
Being in the correct context of this reality is the same as doing business-as-usual, following the norm, basing your decisions on past success or a fixed reference points, aligning yourself with conventional business models—all in an endeavor to achieve winning outcomes.
How do ‘No More Business As Usual’ strategies fundamentally differ from conventional business as usual strategies?
In simple terms, conventional business-as-usual strategies are about how to operate in existing market spaces, attempting to place your business in the correct context of this reality, by constantly discerning: Where do I fit? Where do I benefit? Where do I win? Where do I lose? … It is a contextual reality strategy. Most business-as-usual strategic plans aren't truly strategic. They often consist of high-level ideas that are based on past experience. Simply calling something a strategic plan or a strategic initiative doesn't make it one.
A strategic plan that is based on contextual reality tends to have a tendency to align the practices of present and future business with the practices of the past. They tend to cling to familiar turf. This will place the organization in jeopardy. Every time the organization aligns with the practices of the past, they stop themselves from receiving anything that doesn't match those past experiences.
In contrast, No More Business As Usual strategies are about how create a balanced integration of organizational vision, and strategic and operational realities. With No More Business AS Usual strategies, organizations will be able to capture new opportunities before people who are mesmerized by contextual reality. They are aware of the new possibilities, they conceive of new ideas, and they develop strategies to bring those ideas into existence. They are more likely to see trends outside their industry that could affect the positioning of their business, and they generate new growth opportunities.
In conventional business-as-usual paradigms, there are many misconceptions about the worth and value of strategic planning and what it takes for a plan and the process to succeed. Most people see strategic planning as a necessary evil. They feel the purpose is just to get it done, versus finding value in the process and result. Most organizations do spend a lot of time, effort, and money on strategic planning only to then have a nice binder sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Based on their research, Robert Kaplan of Harvard Business School and David Norton of the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative estimate that as many as 90% of all corporate strategies are not executed successfully. Beyond not being properly implemented, the strategies themselves are often problematic.
The conventional strategic planning process often proves pointless and frustrating and the end product of dubious value when consideration isn't taken to set clear, realistic target, define action steps explicitly, and elicit the views of major stakeholder groups. From this mindset, strategic planning is often misidentified as a bothersome operational initiative that is done because the CEO or board require it, so everyone can then say, “We have a strategic plan.” Many leaders find creating a business strategy to be a difficult and mysterious process that yields unsatisfactory results.
Using the No More Business As Usual methodology, however, the strategic planning process looks very different. No More Business As Usual strategic planning processes examine and make informed projections about environmental realities to help an organization anticipate and respond to change by clarifying its vision, mission and objectives; targeting spending; and reshaping its programs, revenue streams and other aspects of operations.
The No More Business As Usual methodology facilitates organizations to gain awareness and clarity about their vision and mission, and become aware of their resources, and then incorporating this clarity and awareness into a state of conscious responsiveness to a dynamic, rapidly-changing business environment. The No More Business As Usual methodology therefore allows organizations to largely play a non-zero-sum game, with high payoff possibilities.