he last decade of business life
for employees has been fraught with restructuring, TQM and other "process
enhancements", re-organizations, team management activities, mergers, acquisitions,
and layoffs in order for management to achieve the holy grail: revenue growth and
increased profitability. Wall Street is doubtful about the ability of many organizations,
regardless of the market, to continue to accelerate earnings now that most of the
"fat" has been trimmed. So what does this mean for business and for those of us
marketing and business development types responsible for delivering products and
technologies to fuel growth?
While the "external environment" (competitive, regulatory, etc.) will
continue to play a role in our ability to deliver goods and services, the "internal
environment" within our organizations will increasingly inhibit us from delivering
products required to meet the demands of the market. In the age of information overload
and constant changes in the business environment, employees are inundated by new
information, stressed by the demands of intense corporate environments and dissatisfied
with feeling that their contribution is unappreciated. High tech companies rely on
innovation and yet constant changes and the resulting stress can be counter productive to
It is no surprise that that Dilbert cartoons are so widely accepted as representative
of corporate life. While management may accept this as a humorous and unavoidable part of
a corporate existence, it is indicative that there are serious underlying problems for
organizations that will not be addressed in the long run by external window dressing (e.g.
restructuring, team management, flat structures, etc.) to enhance profitability. Have you
ever heard your fellow employees correctly interpret changes related to productivity
enhancement as a demand for them to do more with fewer resources? Would be fair to
say their response is not overwhelmingly positive?
So why should marketing and business development professionals care about the impact of
these changes on fellow employees? How many individuals do you need to influence on a
daily basis to get your job done, with no authority to direct them to deliver? Our fellow
employees are the people we rely on to help us design, develop, and deliver products to
market. In the future the pace of market change, the drive for profitability, and the
dissatisfaction of your fellow employees will directly impact your ability to bring
products to market that meet customer needs.
Given the rate of change it will be impossible for companies to provide
sufficient training and develop new structures and processes fast enough to meet changes
(customer desires) in the market place unless they unless willing to look at new
approaches in supporting their workforce and in meeting customer needs. (After
all, once everyone has merged and distribution has consolidated, what is left?).
And although consolidation seems like a great idea,
most of us know that the larger the organization, the slower it moves. So what
opportunities will we have for ensuring our success in the future?