Turn Your Knowledge into Action, Written by Joseph Raynus

The industry has only one problem to solve and a handful of questions to answer: How strong is the competition? How loyal are your customers? How easy would it be for them to switch? We have to find a way of doing business and continuing to stay in business and devise a plan to ensure that the business processes—including those of suppliers and service providers—are always able to meet critical needs, depending on the situation and external factors. These solutions, contrary to popular belief, are not as simple as a specific product or technology or service or a project with a beginning and an end.

At the organizational level, strategic decision making constantly gets influenced—and sometimes overpowered—by such external factors as market changes, also known as market volatility; unpredictable changes or uncertainty;, constant reconsideration of key decision factors, which you can call complexity; and elusiveness of current situational and potential outcomes, which means that there is always a sense of ambiguity to decisions at the organizational level.

These challenges, however, are not external to the organization. It’s about time we face the reality: in our corporate lives, we feel more secure when we agree and follow previously implemented methodologies and frameworks even when we have difficulty connecting to the accepted perspectives of organizational performance, company strategy and objectives. Internal issues often prevent us from objective evaluation of external challenges and result in a barrier to objective decision making in strategy execution.

The painful truth is that we understand that there is a problem, but close our eyes and disregard the obvious. Organizational agility is not just about the speed. It is about how we respond to challenges and the situations determining when is appropriate time to act. For a business, resilience means being able first to absorb the impact of, and then effectively react to, severely disruptive change. In some cases, when businesses cannot or should not revive a business model that has failed, they must be able to reinvent themselves and find an entirely new model or ways of operating that preserve their core identity in the face of change.

So, what does it mean?

Knowledge is not a Power Anymore– Knowing is!

As paradoxically as it may sound, knowledge is not power anymore! In our modern, ever changing world, you need “Knowing” that gives you true power to manage and monitor your project/product/portfolio as well as the ability to control the situation. To be in control means knowing what’s happening (the present), knowing what to expect (the future), knowing what to do and having the resources to influence the future.  What does it mean to know? We have to change our very method of knowing.

Organization should have adaptive processes in order to execute flexible strategy. Some important questions to ask are by how much and by when do we want to improve performance? By urging a series of flexible, measurable processes that account for time, speed-to-decision, time-to-action, course correction and not just bottom-line or unit-driven metrics, and by balancing goals with results, strategy, and operations, the data from an analytics effort will tell whether your program is achieving either the rate-of-change or progress that was expected—and results will follow. Whether they are profitable, knowledge-based, or better operations, people need to know which of a company’s goals or objectives they are supporting if they decide to make a change and improve a process.

In order to do that you have to have four essential capabilities:

1. Knowing what to do
It is important that you know what to do. You should know how to respond to regular and irregular disruptions and disturbances by adjusting normal functioning. This is the ability to address the actual situation.
2. Knowing what to look for
You should know what to look for. This means that it is important to know how to monitor that which is or could become a threat in the near term. The monitoring must cover both that which happens in the environment and that which happens in the organization itself or its own performance. This is the ability to address the critical.
3. Knowing what to expect
You should know what to expect. This means that you should know how to anticipate developments and threats further into the future, such as potential disruptions, pressures, and their consequences. This is all to address the potential.
4. Knowing what happened
It is important to know what happened. In other words, it is important to learn from experience—particularly, to learn the right lessons from the right experiences. This is the ability to address the factual. To be in control means knowing what’s happening (the present), knowing what to expect (the future), knowing what to do and having the resources to influence the future.

This type of insight into the performance of your product or portfolio has to be supported by Key Performance Indicators that reflect the true “state of events” and answer your most critical questions.

In order to survive these challenging problems, we have to have the ability to predict, plan, and define how to respond to environment dynamics and complexity.

Turning Knowledge into Knowing is Imperative!