Michael D. Moberly December 24, 2013 ‘A blog where attention span matters’!
For far too many companies, the intangible assets they produce or acquire remain unacknowledged and unexploited. The reasons are numerous, i.e.,
- One, to be sure, is a sense of apprehension, reluctance, and/or even the potential to encounter professional embarrassment by introducing a topic which for some may unfortunately still be controversial or may have been previously dismissed.
- A second reason has to do with a company’s structural complexity, i.e., multiple layers of chain of command and otherwise convoluted and confusing reporting relationships which individually or collectively make it challenging for activist messages to reach the dashboards of instrumental leaders.
- A third reason is the sometimes well intentioned capacity of certain staffers in proximity to the decision makers, either by design or in a ‘gatekeeper’ agenda context filter messages from below which ultimately insulate key business leaders from what can be insightful findings and perspectives.
- A fourth reason is that a company may require – stipulate that before fresh – innovative proposals can be brought forth, a formal analysis must occur, well beyond what may otherwise be perceived as mere intuitive reasoning or acts of spontaneity.
- A fifth, final, and in some respects, over-arching reason is that numerous companies and their leadership have neither trained nor conveyed receptivity to their employees to identify and bring problems, oversights, and/or challenges directly to their attention before a formal analysis has been undertaken. Presumably, the rationale underlying such a process is to preclude raw – unrefined issues coming forward seemingly at will that are perceived as drawing, already limited time away from other operational issues and which other echelons believe warrant a higher priority and more immediate attention.
My experiences gives me confidence that one or more, or even perhaps all five reasons cited above resonate with members of many management teams.
In most business environments I have encountered where these reasons – rationales are present in one form or another, a business leader’s need to be introspective about how intangible asset related issues in their company rise, with the necessary speed, to become routine discussion – action items on their respective agendas is, as noted in previous posts, a valuable leadership attribute.
As characterized by James Drogan, a business professor at SUNY’s Maritime College, introspection among management team members consists, in part, of…
- knowing what you know.
- knowing what you don’t know.
- knowing who knows what you don’t know, and
- knowing, when things are going really well, you’ve probably missed something!
So, with respect to the consistent challenge of business leaders’ and management teams’ overlooking and/or being dismissive of the intangible assets their company routinely produces, I offer two of eleven endorsements found in Michael A. Roberto’s book ‘Know What You Don’t Know…How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen’, Wharton School Publishing, 2009…
- “With the speed at which businesses can change, the ability to see around the corner is paramount to business leaders…”. Paul Dominski, Former Vice President, Organizational Effectiveness, Target Corporation
- ‘Discovering problems when they are still minor is a vital skill in today’s fast-moving business environment. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is the only thing I intent to do every single day at work…”. Shine Okake, COO, UNIQLO, USA, Inc.
So, my takeaway to readers is, spend time discovering, unraveling, bundling, and utilizing your firm’s intangible assets, because, by doing so, it will increase company value, generate sources of revenue, and lay necessary foundations for (company) growth, profitability, and sustainability!
This post was inspired by Michael A. Roberto’s book ‘Know What You Don’t Know…How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen’, Wharton School Publishing, 2009.
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