Scroll to top
© Optimize Consulting Inc. | All Rights Reserved

Melon Mayhem

Optimize Blog - May 19, 2011 - 0 comments

An intriguing story from China hit the news this week as a result of acres of watermelons exploding one by one!
Interestingly China has long approved the usage of ‘agricultural growth chemicals’ under certain quotas and experts have purported that these chemicals are the underlying cause of the mushy mess. Conversely extensive tests seem to show that this chemical is safe… and farms where no growth chemical has been used have also experienced the phenomenon of the exploding crop. It is not clear at this stage if anyone has been injured by flying melon debris…
Non-Exploding Watermelons
Volatile fruit (somehow) led us to think about volatility in business. Perhaps inevitably, we have also now discovered that there is even a ‘Volatility Institute’ – created at New York University Stern School of Business in 2009 under the direction of Nobel Laureate and ‘volatility expert’ Professor Robert Engle.
Regular readers know that our long-held premise is that modern business leaders need to be able cope with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. In the business world, Volatility is often considered primarily in the context of financial markets but, at the macro level, volatility is actually concerned with economic and business cycles. At the micro level it is concerned with issues such as staff turnover and changing daily priorities.
From a strategic perspective, understanding volatility is critical. Organizations have been known to develop strategic plans that rely on the occurrence of a specific set of events, rather than planning for a range of potential scenarios. If the future unfolds in a different way, companies can find themselves scrambling for solutions. At the micro level parallels can be drawn – perhaps in employee turnover, the impact of a supplier change, a short-term performance focus or realignment or changes in process for example.
To respond effectively to market volatility, companies need to identify a range of anticipated futures in each area and then define responses for each of the various scenarios. Only in this way can they position themselves to take intelligent action if specific trigger events should come to pass. The same is true for the leader executing his or her role on a daily basis.
The effective leader needs to identify risk, consider future potential outcomes and plan accordingly. Risk registers are not solely for the domain of projects – any leader should have a risk register for their area of accountability and this should be reviewed at least monthly. At the review, consider if any assumptions that you made have changed, if any new factors that have come into play or if there are leading or lagging indicators which suggest a change to an anticipated future state?
Trust us. Taking time to plan and to develop options for you and your team will bear fruit but hopefully not of the exploding kind…

Related posts

Post a Comment