During times of crisis while living in the overwhelming information era, a legitimate question may arise “What companies need to do in order to survive in a glocalized economy moving towards the creation of smarter territories?”. People at my age have grown up with a specific mind-set: Information is Power. We have been raised up thinking to be the next world citizens of “Mac Luhanian” global villages, but the current scenario seems to show us how instead, we ended up living as prisoners of this “information overload”, as the visionary Alvin Toefler defined it, already back in 1970.
The instinct of throwing our colleagues/friends/sons/partners Berrys in a cup of coffee, while instead of listening to our conversations they are sending us instant messages and tons of emoticons, It is constantly counterbalanced by the anxiety we experience as soon as we realize to have stepped out of the front door without our own smartphones in the pocket.
This article aims to show how is this effect producing itself in such a subtle way we tend to not even get aware of it, this at least, until we are called to face the consequences of this new lifestyle we are somehow getting used to.
At all levels of an organization people should aim to get a balance between thinking and doing, because it is, despite the obvious, the basic of any well structured winning strategy. Although, according to the 2/3 of managers interviewed by Reuters for one of its surveys, the amount of useless information executives as well as employees are used to be daily bombarded by, it produces as most frequent consequences, a decrease in satisfaction in workers’ jobs, and different degrees of damages affecting both their personal relationships and health.
Would it be a coincidence then that the term “wired” means both “connected to the Internet” and “”high, frantic, unable to concentrate”? . So what’s the deal between a world in which organizations and people have to compete with everyone for everything from everywhere, and the combination of omnipresent and fragmented information which constantly “sparkles” either from the bottom of our pocket or from the top of our table, at any hour?
By referring to the article “How to cope with data overload” published on The Economist in July 2011, companies’ solution to keep on guaranteeing the workflow since the recession started, it had not been the one of hiring new people, but to ask their workers to perform more tasks. This, while researchers identify at least 3 big risks related to employees exposition to this so called “Data Smog”:
1.Multitask workers seem to produce more stress hormons, by this way taking the risk to feel often anxious and powerless.
2.Harvard Business School’s researcher, Serena Amabile, it found out through a field work on over 9000 workers, that focus and creativity are deeply connected. Therefore, there will always be much more chance than a worker will perform with creativity by being allowed to focus on a task with no interruptions than by being forced to attend meetings and calls at any hour.
3.A study conducted by David Meyer of the University of Michigan discovered that not only creativity but also productivity are being put at stake when workers at any level are asked to perform tasks in parallel instead of letting be completing the same task in sequence.
Too stressed, more easily less creative and less productive, organizations managers and their employees from within the information overload bubble, they still have to choose which development strategy to apply and being part of. About that, it is indeed sure that observation is the key factor of any good business strategy, but the main point nowadays seems to be, what shall we be observing? What’s important and what’s not in this scenario? How can we be able to filter the information we constantly receive? How can we state the difference between a relevant information and a useless one within the big data cloud?
The five forces model used in strategy consulting in order to identify companies’ performance in a certain economic scenario (clients, new competitors, current competitors, substitute products and providers) does not include two elements, which above all during these complex times are of prior importance for any kind and size of an organization. A new 7 forces model defined by Professor Pascual Montañes Duato, including the Social Environment and the Political Scenario as necessary to be considered, when it comes the time to establish which future strategy is necessary for the organization’s development. The sociological evolution of users as well as governments’ regulatory scenario have to be monitored and forecasted, and this has to be done with lobbies’ and medias’ power too. These last 2 elements shape, either directly or indirectly, public opinion and the definition of what’s politically correct, by this way boosting new changes in common sense and taste. According to what mentioned until now, we can affirm that Geo-strategy could easily be defined as the New Normal in strategy consulting, and this, as Professor Duato underlines, in order to be able to anticipate the future of an organization, to forecast its growth and diversification strategy, as well as at the time to choose to move towards a new and more attractive sector.
All this, in a world where bosses get bothered if their directs are not reachable for a few minutes and where people seem to not survive at a 5 days smartphones’ service interruption. A world in which even most relevant management consulting firms are giving workers advices such as “Find time to focus. Filter out noise. Forget about work when you can.” It is not surprising then, that creating and applying correctly a good Geo-strategy for shaping organizations’ future is and it still be representing one of the greatest challenges. A new door is opened for Geo-strategy in organizations, a discipline which is not only a study subject in the most prestigious Business Schools of the United States and emerging leading countries, but which has also a leading role in the Operations and Strategy Development divisions of most companies, among all industries.
To conclude, the Science of Management Strategy has to keep on living under constant change, sensitive to all social, economical and political events, by opening to the New Normal, both managers and workers will have “to keep it real”.The “Academia” way of thinking is a privilege that the private sector cannot afford.