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The business world seems woefully small when viewed through the digital lens by an increasingly emboldened customer who is passionately willing to switch loyalties for the ‘peace of mind’ that comes from realizing the positive benefits of technological innovation. Consequently, there has been a steady shift towards extremities in terms of reacting to the presence or absence of ‘delight’ factors in products and services. This has fuelled the need for rethinking competitive strategies for various companies that were previously used to being secure in their pristine reputations and industry stature. The following ‘SUBLIME’ approach is presented as a guide for leading such a transformation…

Brief Explanation of the ‘SUBLIME’ Terminology

Scan
This refers to a proactive disposition in maintaining ‘situational awareness’ of the initiatives being taken by the current/potential competitors to develop ‘breakthrough’ technologies. It involves the use of appropriate methods (e.g., PESTLE Analysis, Online Assets), in gauging the ‘disruptive level’ of such technologies while they are still in their ‘infancy’ stage. The result of such an exercise should be an insightful ‘Business Environmental Scan’ report that is presented confidentially to the senior management for contemplating and authorizing the necessary steps to minimize/neutralize the risk to organizational sustainability

Understand
This refers to achieving a clear comprehension of the current capabilities of the organization in terms of meeting the challenges identified by the ‘Business Environmental Scan’ report. Such an understanding can be done with the help of suitable analytical tools, e.g., SWOT Analysis, Force-field Analysis. The result of such an exercise should be presented to the senior management and the functional heads concerned in the form of a ‘Business Competitiveness Imperatives’ report for developing effective strategies, SMART objectives and congruent action plans that are supported by adequate resources to systematically overcome identified challenges

Believe
This refers to inculcating a realistic level of self-belief throughout the organization based upon a sound understanding of the inherent capabilities for meeting identified challenges. Such an exercise requires strong communication by using formal and informal means and is buoyed by a deep sense of conviction that harbors a coalesced culture at its core. This should form the basis of a ‘rallying cry’ for uniting all factions in ensuring the attainment of desired organizational goals and serve as a harbinger for transparent practices to reinforce the psychological contract

Leverage
This refers to the optimum use of inherent strengths and capabilities of the organization in achieving desired goals. It also entails having a clear idea of areas of improvement and the effective resolution of such impediments. Such an initiative requires synergistic collaboration between a suitably trained and motivated workforce which can efficiently execute action plans, devised under strategic imperatives, within the available/accessible resources. Care should be taken in avoiding clash of functional authorities and striking a soothing balance between the ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ of key stakeholders

Improvise
This refers to the flexibility and adaptability embedded within the implemented action plans to fulfill strategic initiatives. It requires high level of self-belief in the decision makers who have also been granted a liberal threshold by the senior management for tolerance of mistakes. Such an exercise should take into account the principles of prudent risk management and a healthy respect for navigating in precarious situations. Care should be taken to avoid extensive improvisation since it may be indicative of poor planning and lead to dilution of efforts in reaching desired goals

Monitor
This refers to the oversight that is required to ensure that the expectations from the implementation of action plans are being met consistently and timely corrective/preventive actions are being taken to ensure fulfillment of strategic imperatives within the agreed timelines. Such an exercise needs to be carried out by suitably qualified and authorized management that has an uncontaminated mandate for achieving desired results with impartiality, forthrightness and a keen sense of purpose. Clear accountabilities should be established as a cornerstone for success

Engage
This refers to invigorating the workforce into a productive coalition that is singularly aligned and committed to meeting the desired organizational goals. Such an exercise requires a clear vision, untainted empowerment, rampant integrity, enriched diversity & inclusion practices, reward & recognition equity, nonpartisan accountability and lucid delineation & optimization of organizational structures/processes/policies/procedures/roles. Key challenge in this context is to channelize positive energy into an enduring ‘Organizational Citizenship Behavior’. Suitable formal and informal measures should also be in place to guard against the ‘creeping’ of disengagement/apathy and its timely neutralization

Parting Thoughts
The ‘SUBLIME’ approach is designed for a digital world that does not pay heed to tradition, sheds conventional thinking, seeks seamless gratification, pledges loyalty to technological innovation and punishes complacency with extinction. Consequently, organizational agility is required for maintaining competitiveness and the ‘enlightened’ organizations are leading the way accordingly. Are you one of them?

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