Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Five “C” Words at C-Suite

Either culture change or business transformation, change is the only constant today.

Modern business executives may inundate with numerous meetings, sometimes they get over-optimistic about blue sky strategy, or get lost in business details, or get limited by their official title,  what does big table conference need focus on, which roles C-Level should play: movers & shakers, innovators or thought leaders?

1. Customer:  the “Center” of strategic conversation

  •  Customer Insight & Foresight: How does executive team make effective decisions to delight current customers and enchant potential customers.
  •  Blue Ocean Strategy: “In Blue Oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for both growth and profit.” The customer-centric strategy is also about how to make fresh choices to explore the blue ocean. 

2. Culture: The Spirit of the Organization is from Top

  •  Toxic Culture sinks the ship: culture is about how people think and do things in the organization, the toxic culture includes such as uninspiring homogeneous leadership, destructive office politics, bureaucracy, or myopic goal setting., etc.
  • “Culture” is Big Talk: Building a performance culture starts with management of organizational change, something that is rarely successful when driven from the bottom up. Organizational culture need be first shaped at C-suite, and executives need become culture masters first.

3. Capabilities: 21st Century Business Capabilities

 If the customer is the center of business strategy, the big “WHY”, and culture is “HOW” to do things,  and then, capability is about “WHAT” that enables us to execute the strategy. The strategy conversation need also focus on how to cultivate 21st century’s business capabilities:

  • Leaning Capability:  it's about Knowledge Management Capability, Human Mindset Capability and Organizational Intelligence.
  • Change Capability: it's Change Management Capability, such as agility, elasticity to adapt to the future;
  • Innovation Capability: Core Competency, Business value system,  information flowing capability., etc.
  • Process Optimization Capabilities: How to keep business lean, reduce inefficiency & complexity --the process, cost structure., etc
  • Governance CapabilitiesGRC-Governance, Risk Management, Compliance

4. Change: The leaders need to be change agents first

 Either culture change or business transformation, change is the only constant today. The inspiring & authentic leaders need become change agents themselves,  to encourage critical thinking and creative thinking and to adapt to the changes. Therefore, Change need be the always on the topic at C-Suite, not for change’s sake, but for achieving long-term business goal and purpose.

  • Continuous Improvement: the well-defined KPI Scoreboard helps leadership team to measure business improvement scientifically.

  • Business Transformation: Only high-performance leadership team with cognitive capability and diversified viewpoint can help transform the business into the right direction and avoid blind spot.

5. Cloud: Not just technology terminology, but also the new mindset & model to run business

Cloud is not only about future of IT but also about how to run an “always-on” business without border and how to satisfy the customers at the hybrid business environment. It might be another interesting talk at C-Suite.

  • New business delivery model: Businesses see the cloud model as a good response to business and market demand.
  • New mindset: Despite potential savings in infrastructure, costs and improved business flexibility on the cloud, the new mindset is needed to leverage security, governance and risk management.

 Bonus Word: Concentration.

Strategy need focus & priority, C-Suite just needsd to walk the talk, to execute it solidly via practicing above five “C”s, to become the Change Agent and achieve high-performance business result.


Definitely agree with all of these, especially the first C! Just because someone is a CEO doesn't mean they should lose sight of the fact that they are, ultimately, catering to customers.

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