Get Ready to Grow

by Janice Giannini

With a deep mastering at the intersection of IT and business strategy, consultant, board adviser and former C-suite executive, Janice has been harnessing the true power of IT for more than 30 years. An Executive and Board-level digital strategist at the intersection of risk and IT, she enhances competitive position through vision and equity with large-scale risk identification, quantification and mitigation in an ever-changing marketplace, generating long-term value for clients. She engages with senior executives and teams, particularly in complex businesses where misalignment is blocking their desired success, to develop and execute practical business strategies and plans. Clients have found her especially helpful when they recognize they must integrate an eagle's eye and worm's eye view in order to identify and remove obstacles. Janice has consistently taken on those challenges that others chose to run from. This typically involves those challenging times when failure is not an option and integrating business, technology and people changes must be accomplished simultaneously. As a result, many of her clients are complex organizations who won't settle for anything less than developing widespread professional competence.

I recently read an article posted on the HBR blog site titled Get Your Budget Ready for the Upturn by Ram Charan. The thoughts expressed by Ram resonated with me so much, I wanted to share it. I have summarized the essence here, adding a few questions, in the hope that you will read this, think about it and take appropriate action.

His premise is that 2013 budgets were developed during the economic environment of 2012. The indicators are that the economy is growing; based on housing stabilization, uptick in manufacturing, increase exports, shifting energy equation and decreased personal debt.

The US recovery is happening. Although there are still issues in Europe and Japan; Australia as well due to China's decreased imports. There is reason for optimism that this recovery will take hold.

Ram hypothesizes: "If your budget was created for economic headwinds, then now is the time to revisit your assumptions"

  • Position yourself in market segments that will grow. The business environment changed with eliminations and redefinitions. Are your business resources aligned around current growth?
  • Increase your R&D spending. If you didn't cut it that's great. Are you investing effectively in areas of rising demand? Do you know the impact of that shift for your business?
  • Reset goals and KPIs. Strengthened economic growth requires upping your game to stay competitive. Are you?
  • Set funds aside for growth. When the market turns in specific areas, be prepared to take advantage of it in a timely manner.
  • Rethink outsourcing. Based on market shifts and needed speed, it may make sense to source domestically. Can you move as fast as you need with your current outsourcing model?
  • Upgrade skills. Letting talent become stake or obsolete is a dangerous path. What challenges do your leadership and technical/ innovation team's face? What can you do to help them succeed?
  • Keep pressure on productivity.
  • Prepare for inflation. Develop a strategy to keep in step as this happens.

I invite comments and thoughts. I would gladly participate in a conversation on this to help the US lead the economic recovery.