Intangible Asset Side of Business Habituation Can Be An Impediment

February 13th, 2017. Published under Fiduciary Responsibility, Intangible asset training for management teams., Managing intangible assets, Uncategorized. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly February 13, 2017 A business blog about intangible assets where attention span really matters!

Business acumen acquired from – retained through personal experience permits most of us to ‘encode’ repetitive activities and processes (we engage in) as habits, which, in turn, allows us to free up ‘brain space’ to learn new things. This encoding process is referred to as habituation.

Habituation however, may not always translate – manifest as (business) improvements, new practices, or creating much needed efficiencies. Instead, in its extreme, ‘habituation’ that manifests as unquestioned adherence – attachment to perpetuating past practice and/or convention, without considering some may be variously obsolete, nearing irrelevance, or wholly uncompetitive, can, quite literally, push economic realities, ala IA’s, off ‘the proverbial table’ and strategic planning radar screens to be obstructions to business competitiveness, sustainability, and viable paths to creating value and (new, additional) sources of revenue.

When one recognizes how to differentiate habitual (sometimes trivial) details from those which are genuinely relevant, competitive, and value-revenue creating, ala IA-related, vs. merely continuing to approach-execute certain practices and/or processes because ‘we have always done it this way’ (with no intent-desire to change) is habituation, perhaps in its most extreme form.

There are many good and relevant reasons why we (our brains, personalities) are receptive to habituation. One is, if habituation were absent, proponents would argue we would likely be destined to consistently taking notice of and acting on relatively inconsequential minutia – details of work. Doing so would likely impede, if not limit our work effectiveness and efficiency. That’s because, presumably it would leave little time or inclination to notice or learn new things, i.e., change that could favorably affect the way we approach, engage, execute (our) work-job.

A relevant, all-be-it comedic example of this is (comedian) Jerry Seinfeld’s career which his followers recognize has largely been built on making light of the supercilious minutia of life behaviors and processes which most of us accept and comply with as mere unquestioned realities, i.e., this is the way someone decided it should be done, and it may never rise to a level that prompts us to question why!

Yes, it’s a generalization, but, many successful business persons, are often ‘wired’ to not just notice changes in habits, life expectations, and tolerance, and re-cast them in question contexts, i.e., ‘what could be’? For example, ask, what product-service could be developed, reconfigured, modified, etc., to ‘scratch an itch’ affecting significant and diverse percentages of populations, how much will it cost to produce and market, how quickly can it be brought to market, and what are the risks of doing so, and, if so, what, when, where, and how will they materialize?

These, so-called ‘wired’ individuals, often go multiple steps insofar as anticipating, seeking, embracing, and internalizing change, and how to translate same to develop, monetize, and commercialize discoveries, technologies, and products, embedded with IA’s, often, long before it materializes in a Jerry Seinfeld comedy sketch. Wired individuals are inclined to recognize-distinguish ‘benefits and beneficiaries’ in futuristic contexts vs. recognizing its existence and affects after the fact.

In one sense, this-is-why I frequently characterize my work, as strangely as this may appear to some, as consistently viewing business-company operability through an intangible asset lens. More specifically, during engagements, I respectfully examine actions and perspectives conveyed by business leadership and company management teams in the context of how, why, where, when, and circumstances in which (their) IA’s are used – leveraged (or, not) and how either impacts or contributes to a specific outcome favorably or unfavorably.

It’s not particularly challenging, I find, for business pundits to equate (critique) a company’s missteps or miscues subjectively as missed opportunities. On the other hand, it’s substantially more challenging to correctly define and collaboratively resolve challenges – risks related to business value, sources of revenue, competitive advantages, and reputation that originate – are embedded in non-physical (intangible) assets, which, irrespective of their contributory value, are seldom, if ever, mentioned.

So, when I am engaged with-by clients and companies about their IA’s, i.e., to facilitate-enable lucrative and competitive treatments-applications, I recognize, respectfully so, there have likely been multiple and various circumstances arise previously that singularly or collectively elevated awareness and importance of particular-IA’s. When this occurs, it allows those experiencing – achieving IA operational familiarity, substantially and operationally, better positioned to recognize-examine their IA circumstances to determine if such preludes were and remain present, i.e., determine-assess if, when, where, and how IA’s are being acknowledged and utilized effectively, lucratively, and competitively.

Why am I addressing this? It’s because forward looking-thinking business leaders and management teams are becoming more adept at recognizing – distinguishing processes, initiatives, risk, transactions, and challenges, etc., through IA lens, all-be-it often filtered through conventional sense of (tangible asset) physicality. In the pre-knowledge worker era, obviously previous-to recognizing IA’s contributory role and value to businesses and companies, it was largely assumed that innovation, transaction success, mitigating risks, and/or resolving challenges could be accomplished by simpler (physical) techniques, e.g., deciding which knobs needed adjusting, which screws needed tightening, or which moving parts needed lubrication, etc. In other words, physical methodologies were routinely attached to both the execution and resolution side.

Today, however, it’s a globally universal economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value (sources of revenue, competitive advantage, etc.) lie in – evolve directly from IA’s. A logical extension of this economic fact is that the value and/or pricing of a transaction is reflected in the IA’s in play. This has relevance on several levels, perhaps the most significant is the necessity for business leadership – management teams to recognize the intangible (invisible – non-physical) elements in value, competitiveness, and sustainability, etc., and address them accordingly. (The above was substantially modified by Michael D. Moberly from Tony Fadel’s, March 2015, TEDTalk titled ‘The first secret of design, is noticing’.)

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