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Exploiting Successes

Change leaders should starve problems and feed opportunities.

The first—and usually the best—opportunity for successful change is to exploit one’s own successes and to build on them. Problems cannot be ignored. And serious problems have to be taken care of. But to be change leaders, enterprises have to focus on opportunities. They have to starve problems and feed opportunities.

This requires a small but fundamental procedural change: an additional “first page” to the monthly report, one that should precede the page that shows the problems. It requires a page that focuses on where results are better than expected, whether in terms of sales, revenues, profits, or volume. As much time then should be spent on this new first page as has traditionally been spent on the problem page. Enterprises that succeed in being change leaders make sure that they staff the opportunities. The way to do this is to list the opportunities on one page and then to list the organization’s performing and capable people on another page. Then one allocates the ablest and most performing people to the top opportunities. The best example, perhaps, is the Japanese company Sony. It has built itself into one of the world’s leaders in a number of major businesses by systematically exploiting one success after the other—big or small.

ACTION POINT: Every month, prepare a page that lists opportunities, including areas where results were better than expected, whether in terms of sales, revenues, profits, or volume. Follow this with another page that lists the organization’s most capable people. Then allocate the best performers to the top opportunities.

Management Challenges for the 21st Century

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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