"It is impossible for ideas to
compete in the marketplace if no forum for
their presentation is provided or available."
Thomas Mann, 1896
The Business Forum
The Problem in Showing
Clients their Blind Spots
David G. Chaudron
I am sitting here on a plane to the
Middle East (03/25/2015).
A client of ours asked for a workshop
in Change Management their senior-most people. It is a typical large
corporation in this region of the world: Controlled by a family, with each
of its branches not having too much to do with each other. It is
basically involved in real estate, construction, finance, production and
consumer products. It also is well-established, with over 10,000
In our discussions with them, it became
apparent they had gone through significant changes in their leadership
structure, and had not fully come to grips with the present decline in world
oil prices. They already had an extensive training program for senior
management, but it had not yet included training in how to manage change.
The negotiations went well, and we were
customizing our content to their unique circumstances as usual. We
sent our preliminary proposals of work content to the client, and that is
when a problem arose.
You see, we do not use the standard
�develop the vision, mission and values� way of strategy and change.
Part of the reason for this is that a vision statement for a company is
often just that: a statement, with little actual action involved afterwards.
Another reason is that many in their senior management manage to get the
vision and company mission mixed up; which is common is many organizations.
A vision should not be a merely a vision for the company as it is today, it
should also be a vision of the future for what the company may have to
become. It is then that the company�s purpose and mission to
make that future environment/world come about. A third reason was that
we have difficulties with a company visions that is "idealized", with little
in the way of contingency planning.
As a way around this, we have helped
many of our clients develop multiple scenarios for the future; some of them
I have to admit are not so rosy. They can then change their mission concept,
internal systems and processes to maximize company success should any of
these come about.
That is where the problem arose.
Obviously, scenarios are designed to be
thought-provoking, and to get management to think and act in different ways.
Scenarios by themselves do not actually do much more than that: They
have to be integrated into possible planning and systems changes.
Scenarios do not just encourage good process: The content must be
realistic as well.
Unfortunately, some large financial
companies used scenario planning just before the Great Recession. It
sounded like a good idea, but they did not include any scenario where there
would be a cash-crunch or cascading/escalating financial problems and I
really wanted to avoid that blind spot with this particular client.
As many know, the king of Saudi Arabia
has recently died, and his elderly brother has taken his place. Given that
he is 79, and shows signs of frailty, it is a good possibility that he will
not be around in five or ten years. It should be said also that the crown
prince is also not a spring chicken, and the deputy crown prince may merely
be something of a placeholder. He is the first in the line of succession
from the younger generation, but no one really knows how much power he has
or will have in the future.
As a result, if and when the current
king dies, there is a significant possibility of a power struggle in the
This was mentioned in the scenarios we
developed. This is when the client got a bit squeamish, not wanting to bring
up anything that might be too controversial. I thought a great deal
about this, and recommended that the controversial language be kept out, but
left it up to him (the customer) about whether to include it or not.
As of this moment, he is undecided.
I truly hope he makes the right call, and will not regret it when what is
today controversial becomes a reality ~ the consequences which they suffer
Author Profile - David Chaudron
is a Fellow of The Business Forum Institute and the Managing
Partner of Organized Change Consultancy, and the developer
of the Organized Change Survey System, writes with more than
twenty years of experience with a wide variety of
organizations including manufacturing, electronics, NGO,
petrochemical, biotechnology, government, banking, venture
capital and financial service sectors. He works
internationally with clients in North America, South
America, Europe and the Middle East. David is the author of
many practical articles on strategic planning and
organizational change and he has assisted organizations in
planning their strategies, changing their organizations,
surveying their employees, building their teams, and
improving the leadership styles of their executives.
Visit the Authors Web Site
Nothing you read in
The Business Forum Journal
should ever be construed to
be the opinion of, statements condoned by, or advice
from, The Business Forum, its staff, workers, officers, members, directors, sponsors or shareholders. We pass no opinion whatsoever on the content
of what we publish, nor do we accept any responsibility for the claims, or
any of the statements made, within anything published herein. We merely
aim to provide an academic forum and an information sourcing vehicle for
the benefit of the business and the academic communities of the Pacific States of America
and the World.
Therefore, readers must always determine for themselves where the statistics, comments, statements and
advice that are published herein are gained from and act, or not act, upon such entirely and always at their own risk. We
accept absolutely no liability whatsoever, nor take any responsibility for
what anyone does, or does not do, based upon what is published herein, or
information gained through the use of links to other web sites included
Please refer to our:
Beverly Hills, California, United States of America
Copyright The Business Forum Institute - 1982 - 2015 **
All rights reserved.
The Business Forum Institute is not responsible
the content of external sites.