For nogle år siden, læste jeg et indlæg af een af den store nordiske erhvervsøkonomer, professor T. Paulsson Frenckner fra Handelshögskolan i Stockholm – det var dateret i første halvdel af 70’erne. Han skrev: ”Det var aldrig meningen med den nordiske erhvervsøkonomi, at det eneste mål skulle være gevinstmaksimering, og at den eneste bundlinie skulle være det økonomiske regnskab. Men sådan er det blevet”.
Vi er opdraget til at tage hatten af, når nogen siger regnskab og bundlinie. For vi tror, at vi så har med skinbarlige sandheder at gøre. Det har vi ikke. Hvornår mon vi lærer, at alle regnskaber og bundlinier er menneskeskabte, og at selv en økonomisk bundlinie er skrøbelig? ”Stol ikke på en statistik, du ikke selv har været med til at forvanske”, sagde en kendt statistiker engang. Man kan sige det samme om regnskaber.
Vi skal acceptere, at der er flere formål og flere bundlinier. I privatlivet arbejder alle mennesker med mange mål og bundlinier. Jeg vil ikke bortforklare, at økonomi er en indiskutabel og bindende forudsætning. Der er ingen kære mor, hvis pengekassen er tom. En virksomhed kan ikke overleve, hvis den ikke tjener penge. Men den kan heller ikke overleve, hvis den har en dårlig ledelse og en dårlig medarbejderstab. Hvis der ikke er tillid fra medarbejdere, kunder, omgivelser m.m. til virksomheden, kan ingen virksomhed overleve.
Tillid, tillid og atter tillid. Tillid er langt vigtigere for en langsigtet god økonomi, end kortsigtede gode økonomiske resultater.
Det økonomiske regnskab var i mange år enerådende, fordi vi troede, at økonomi var både mål og middel.
Vi troede, at en god økonomi var det endegyldige mål, og vi troede, at en god økonomi var vejen til fortsat god økonomi. Det billede ændrer sig, men det går langsomt, bl.a. fordi vi lever i en benhård økonomisk verden. Økonomi er verdens mest dominerende logik – og den omstændighed er i virkeligheden ved at splitte verden ad. Tænk på, hvordan verden og mennesker lider under, at vi agerer så kortsigtet økonomisk, som vi gør. Økonomi vil altid være en grunddisciplin i en verden, hvor der er knaphed på en række goder.
Men det er ingen naturlov, at dette skal føre til en kortsigtet og ofte ødelæggende økonomisk optimering i virksomheder og i stater.
Vi har vænnet os til den retorik og mystik, der er omkring regnskabet. Nu skal vi videreudvikle de ledelsesinstrumenter, der skal stå til virksomhedsledelsens disposition. Igennem forskning på læreanstalterne og udviklingsarbejde i virksomhederne har vi f.eks. fået en tredobbelt bundlinie som en mulighed, nemlig en social, en miljø- og en økonomisk bundlinie, men andre bundlinier trænger sig på, og vi vil se udvikling på disse områder.
Det går langsomt, fordi vi er forbeholdne og bange. Vejen ud af den industrielle epoke, hvor vi tænkte udelukkende i fysisk produktion, og ind i vidensamfundet med en helt anden logik og retorik er præget af stor usikkerhed. Det tager tid, inden vi vænner os til disse ændringer, men det er ændringer, der vil få radikal betydning for al regnskabstænkning.
Den økonomiske bundlinie er først og fremmest udtryk for en kortsigtet forretningsorienteret tænkning.
Men rigtig forretningstænkning er meget mere. Forretningstænkning drejer sig om forretningsmæssig succes på længere sigt. Drejer sig om virksomhedens værdi på længere sigt og dermed om overlevelse på længere sigt. Men allerede dette har det økonomiske regnskab svært ved at indeholde og præcisere.
Den kortsigtede økonomiske bundlinie kan kun i begrænset omfang hjælpe os med den nødvendige langsigtede forretningstænkning og være vejledende her. Det økonomiske regnskab peger nu engang bagud.
Det kortsigtede økonomiske resultat er udtryk for, at vi forretningsmæssigt klarer os på nutidens præmisser og regler, bakket op af fortidens investeringer – bl.a. i teknologi og kompetenceudvikling.
Men det kortsigtede økonomiske resultat siger ikke noget afgørende om virksomhedens langsigtede muligheder for at overleve – heller ikke i snæver økonomisk forstand.
Det er forunderligt, at vi har bragt os selv i denne situation, hvor vi ikke måler på det, der virkelig betyder noget for virksomhedens muligheder for at skabe økonomisk fremgang og for at forfølge de øvrige mål, der er med virksomhedens aktivitet og eksistens, men kun på en enkelt af resultatdimensionerne.
Det er besynderligt, at den retorik og logik har vundet indpas, at vi skelner mellem de såkaldt hårde økonomiske resultater og de såkaldt bløde værdier. Vi afviser bløde værdier og størrelser med henvisning til et krav om den form for objektivitet, som vi finder i det økonomiske regnskab. Men regnskabet og tallene er ikke mere hårde, end værdierne. Værdierne kan vi blot ikke måle på den måde, hvorpå vi måler den fysiske aktivitet og de økonomiske dispositioner, der ligger til grund for det økonomiske regnskab.
Det siges ofte, at man får det, man måler! Vi bør blive klogere og begynde i langt højere grad at interessere os for at måle det, der virkelig betyder noget for virksomhedens forretningsmuligheder, nemlig f.eks. virksomhedens menneskelige kompetencer, kultur og værdier. Og blive så kloge, at vi til at begynde med måler på måder og med redskaber, der er naturlige for netop det, vi vil måle.
Alt dette er ledelses- og topledelsesanliggender. Og principielt og overordnet set også bestyrelsesanliggender. Det er et anliggende for bestyrelsen, hvilket tankesæt, der skal være det dominerende i virksomhedens direktion og øverste ledelse. Det er her, alt dette begynder. En direktion repræsenterer og er ansat af bestyrelsen. Bestyrelsen er den øverste ledelse, og de værdier og kriterier, der lever her, vil og skal forplante sig ud i den øvrige organisation.
For Brainstorm Roommates
Brian Engblad
Advertisements

Hi,
Just home from Paris – collecting new material for my blog – sounds pretty nice right? It was, although my feet still hurts!

I 10 days time, I will present a shortlist of retailers – all privately owned – which gives one a feeling of in-store thrill, solid and trendy retail composition, cool service and at the same time is more that just a good business.

I will be talking about shopping experience and how wise some of the stores have used shopper psychology to secure a firm gip and litery keep customers dwelling for hours…

For RetailWise

I’m Brian Engblad

Why is it, that so many companies tend to focus and copy competition, rather than create and establish own unique product portfolio and company uniqueness… since when did distinctiveness grow out of fashion?

Just the other day I had invited a great many people to listen to something as commonplace as a lecture in upgrading your presentational skills. Expectations where high, not because we were going to see the latest in power point, in fact quite the opposite!

Presenting these days is very much about power point, and very little about the presenter – unless of cause you are Bill Clinton, Bill Gates or in the same league. The messages can be ever so dull, but the presentations don’t have to be!

The personality that I invited to present, was a well-known Danish actor named Jens Arentzen. He fired up his presentation by announcing the death of power point! Nice, especially because we all lean towards power point in our daily work.

Key takeaway from this horn blowing motivator was not that power point was dead, as much as it was about the fact that we as presenters had forgotten about actually presenting the message and not reading from the slides. Much more importantly, we were educated in how to create mood setting pictures and feelings in the hearts and minds of the audience, to anchor the messages at hand.

There is so much more to a good presentation than a fancy power point, there are the skills and act of the presenter!

All leaders wish to find and deploy motivated people. Still, many managers can’t understand why the employees “don’t think themselves”. They simply forgot that motivation is easily drained, due to lack of- or simply poor management. So to have motivated people, offer them the ability to motivate themselves by motivating and encouraging them, by being more of a role model yourself, and less manager, because that’s not needed – quite the contrary! Remember motivation easily finds its way to the financial figures, but doing better is not just about money but about solid and genuine motivation! – Yes, this is common sense, so how come all managers forget? C)

While the worldwide recession seemingly and hopefully is short lived and perhaps to some extent overrated, 2008 – 2009 business figures and business conduct will give many a business researcher frills diving into over many years to come. They will write books about how distinct companies from one day to the next lost big, never to gain ground again. How large corporations go beaten by small companies.

How small business’ with solid and sound economic competence nearly was forced to close, because of all the customers (larger corporations) over night changed willingness to pay on time – in fact they claimed the right to change terms of payment and hereby send incredibility and lots business ethics in the direction of smaller enterprises! By fact they made it quite clear to millions of suppliers that it was more important to decrease bank interests than paying any small enterprise for their good and solid work delivered on time.

For what reason? Trying to keep the vessel going for yet another quarter?

No doubt, a massive wave of books will strike a beach near you pretty soon. Leaders will stand forward pointing in directions upper sit themselves arguing about neglect and even worse. Massive quantities of frightening stories will eventually surface and rapidly be converted and channelled through the established business education system – because what have happened has certainly catered a lot of business disasters.

Over the last 10 months I have had the privilege in joined talks and a series of interviews with some 82 CEO’s and Managing directors in the Nordic Countries. Focussing on the overall situation, finance issues, steering though trouble waters, about focus, downscaling and ability to get the most out of the situation.

I have summoned my experience in this somewhat bizarre imperative narrative:

Imagine a large containership in open sea travelling fully loaded – course is set. Same routine- and pretty much, same destinations year in and year out.

One day suddenly – although al perditions pointed in this direction – the climate changed dramatically! The wind was stronger than ever hence massive white horses walled up around the carrier. No visibility nor a easy way out – subsequently a certain level of anxiety arises. Not as you might have expected on staff level, for them this was more or less business as usual – but on senior management level the story was another. Schooled in crisis management, the captain reports to the board about a change in ability to perform according to expectations – and due to conditions he will have to report more frequently so that a negative result can be diminished.

Fast-forward – well aware that the carrier is way off course and long awaited on destination, the captain decides (from time to time together with a passive board) not as expected to seek the nearest harbour and re-scope – but to leave the vessel drifting in mammoth sea whilst the captain seeks cover under the first desk available, begging for a rapid change in conditions.

This version might sound harsh and to some even idiotic – and yes you are right! Nevertheless a fact!

A picture of an egocentric CEO or managing director not stepping up to the commission arise. Some might be of the opinion that they could not do different – but I say wrong!

Yes, you tried to diminish and downscale not one but several times, just to spread fear in your organisation – all in all reactive actions. But in terms of proactive action all the companies stood submissive – ask yourself – did you strive to plan what actions and business changes you had to make to stand prepared past recession. The few who did, is right now in a blue ocean situation grabbing market share very easy and inexpensively.

This will leave companies in dire strait perhaps forever! With a massive block of companies lead by paralysed an ineffective top management not able to act accordingly.

You could argue that the disruption is diminished and far less destructive because so many “captains” choose to stay paralyzed and more troubled by their own future, that the one of the company.

These captains will by force now leave the secure chambers, acting nervously and too traditional to get the motivation going and business drive onto new tracks – leaving the business in even darker red ocean, because they never got around to build on blue ocean opportunity that raises during any crisis.

This problem will really surface when some of the upcoming book titles, key note speeches and seminars tells happy stories about the companies and CEO’s that have acted actively right through the crises, exploring new methods and business angles to protect motivation and drive come end of this crisis.

Taking this into consideration combined with the financial state that countless companies experience, the board of directors is left with no other choice than take action to complete considerable changes on top management level. Hoping to cover new ground and gain some lost.

I for one welcome new creative leaders with a new perspective and a honest dedication – eager to show to the world of management that no business should be run like usual or like we learned in business school. It’s time to make changes! It’s is time to put new management into the drivers seat!

B)

November 09

We just had a meeting today talking climate change, our individual effort and how the whilst majority of business’ do if any – very little.
I hate to admit that I’m doing too little! Both privately as well as a CEO.
I startet today doing what we all can do – put some small effort and common since behind the words. Quickly I realized how little I knew – and that Al Gore’s energized presentations left me with more questions than answers.
So tomorrow I will do some necessary catching up on the subject – I will start by reading “from cradle to cradle”.
Maybe you should too…
Take care,
B)