Transforming Lives Delivering Results

How will you cause your SME to grow?
External inputs or internal evolution?
By Hiren Modi

It has been observed that many smaller companies have immense opportunities for growth and are hungry for the same.

The challenge they often face is the scarcity of talent, strategic thought processes, exposure and leadership that can provide all three – strategic, tactical and operational leadership.

These businesses have been managed by individuals and/or families or closely knit partnerships. Many of these companies have developed their people by the virtue of seniority and/or loyalty. Many of these managers and supervisors (Although may not have those specific designations) have grown within the company from much lower wrung of the ladder. Thus they have very less or virtually no exposure to a long-term holistic thinking and neither they have been exposed to leading edge management principles.

What is the need to hire outside consultants?

The consultant is expected to show the strategies and design and develop the organizational structures that can help the transformation. The professional structures, systems, processes and cultures often awe the business leader. But they don’t have the wherewithal to build these. And that is why they hire the consultants at often very high fees. They have very high hopes that the consultant will play a key role in changing the mindsets of managers and their down lines.

On the other side, some consultants often have a vast exposure to this information. (Seldom practical, often theoretical and inappropriate for small organizations) Thus the consultants work hard to create an intelligent initiative to implement new strategies, processes and structures.

The entire team is then expected to follow the guidelines given by the consultant. Often these include initiatives like creating the organization structures, hiring people, shuffling people, creating long term visions, values and missions, etc.

How does the system respond?

These ideas coming from outside interventions have not been generated by the system i.e. people within the organization haven’t created these ideas and initiatives. These are the alien inputs!

Often it has been found that the team is resisting all these changes. There is no buy in. The people who need to play an active role in implementation are resisting it!! How can the top management forcing it through help implementation? It only ends in building a chaos within the system and the system goes back to it’s original space. That is the familiar and thus comfortable space and that is how they have survived until now. And all that remains is the vision, mission, values and strategies in files or on wall frames.

Any new idea or an initiative or strategy HAS to be organic to succeed. It has to come from within the system. Only then it fits the reality the people are dealing with, it deals with their real concerns on the court. It fits peoples’ thinking and is owned by them. These ideas easily become a part of the system.

But the then question is – What if the organization is not competent to build such ground breaking strategies and execute them?

We will somehow need to bring the organization to first evolve and create and foster an environment where the teams’ thinking processes evolve. There cannot be one or two or four thinking people. We need many more people capable of doing real thinking to build the organization.

So you need an intervention that gives no external input but works as a catalyst to start the process – intervention that helps foster leadership, ownership, alignment and stimulates strategic thinking. The team needs to evolve to become capable of producing the outcomes. This evolution can only be successful if it is organic. Then it becomes a natural process. It becomes how we work here. That is transformation of the culture.

Of course, this isn’t going to be enough. But this is going to be the necessity for and business transformation or radical change initiative.