Friday, February 20, 2004

Learn to read business signs to achieve results, reach goals

Business Times p.
Friday, February 20, 2004

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Learn to read business signs to achieve results, reach goals

WHERE do business ideas come from? How do you know what Key Result Areas (KRA) and Strategic Goals (SG) to set within your planning horizon? I do believe that there is a great plan for every one of us, entrepreneurs and ordinary mortals. Now you need to discover that plan. Where to look?

First, your vision, mission and values. These are your inspired thoughts and prayers for your future. They give you directions and guidance intuitively.

Second, the signs you can perceive. You know just like when you ask for a white rose to affirm your choice for Mr. or Miss Right. Same here. Signs are all around your business. Some are random signs, as in they appear only sporadically with no pattern. Like all of a sudden you receive one long stemmed rose from somebody you don’t know from Adam or Eve. Some are chaotic signs, as in they appear here there and everywhere but still you could not make heads or tails of them. Similar to the many long and short stemmed roses you receive from various friends. Nakakalito. And some signs form decipherable patterns or trends. Like you receive one white long stemmed rose in the morning, then in the afternoon and finally in the evening when he fetches you for your date. Hmmmmm

As Susan Spicer, chef and proprietor of Spice Inc. puts it, “In my first restaurant job, I had to prep a case of artichokes every morning. Somehow, artichokes know what shape they want to be. Pay attention, and you’ll know too.”

Never mind the random and chaotic signs. What is important for you to consider in charting the future of your business are the definite patterns or trends signs. Innovation Guru and author Elaine Dundon has identified 99 such trends that can serve as stimuli to increase your awareness of the big picture and to look to the future. In her book, Seeds of Innovation, Elaine exhorts you to review each trend and determine how it is applicable to your particular project or business.

Her list is unbelievably exhaustive and current. Here is a part of the list:

• Acceptance and pursuit of global brands
• An increased need to define “seniors” by division into groups: younger seniors (50 and 60) versus older seniors (70, 80 and 90)
• Biotechnology
• Branding of everything
• Breaking point for environmental shifts—more people are noticing excessive snow, rain, heat and earthquakes
• Consumer desire for low prices with online bargain shopping and interest in manufacturer / factory-direct-to-consumer shopping
• Crisis in availability of natural resources, water crisis and energy crisis
• Crisis in purpose in life after retirement with retirement age being at age 55 and average life expectancy of 80, leaves 25 years of low productivity
• Desire for instant gratification
• Desire for more privacy
• Desire to look young forever, interest in anti-aging therapy for both men and women
• Employees wanting and demanding more participation
• Entertainment in every-thing—marrying entertainment with education, entertainment with sports, and here in the Philippines, entertainment with politics
• Genetic screening for all ages, testing for disease
• Growing interest in experiences as a replacement for materialism
• Street-smart children

The whole world is leading you to your accomplishing your mission along the path of your vision. There are signs in your business environment that says “opportunities” or “threats.” Pick them up and use them to determine your KRAs and SGs. Remember what author Richard T. Pascale said that when the world around you changes, maintaining your equilibrium is a threat to your future existence.

ASTD 2004. The American Society for Training & Development will hold its annual International Conference this May 23-27 in Washington D.C. For details and to register, please visit . You may use our delegation code (#10429860) to enable you to pay only the special delegation conference fee.

Guess who will be speaking at ASTD 2004? Dr. Henry Mintzberg (planning guru, author, professor of management at McGill University, Canada) Richard Teerlink (former chairman and CEO, Harley-Davidson Inc.), Candice Carpenter (founder, and business visionary), Peter Senge (a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), and author of The Fifth Discipline), Arie de Geus (a global statesman of business change and author of Living Company), Gloria Gery (internationally recognized pioneer in the introduction of performance concepts in the e-learning field) and Geary Rummler (author, led the way in the application of instructional and performance technologies to organizations and brings this experience to the issue of organization effectiveness).

They are the keynote speakers. There are 200 other speakers in this power-packed conference and an exposition with 600 exhibitors of human resource and organization development products and services. Call Grace Victoriano at 715-9332 for assistance.

(Moje Ramos-Aquino, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corporation, consults on strategic planning and other HROD initiatives. Her email address is

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