Is Your Organization in Precovery?

Aug 27, 2009

Those of the organizations that I work with which are ahead of the economic curve – those that you might say are in ‘precovery’ – share a number of common characteristics. Although each organization uses different vocabulary, these are the top five:

1. They have a source of trusted metrics that provides the information they need on how their organization, their industry, and the economy in general is performing (rolling 12 months) and likely to perform over the short term (3 to 6 months).

2. They accept the data for what it is. Rather than second-guessing, massaging, re-interpreting, filtering, disguising, best-case-ing, optimizing, projecting, top-slicing, averaging or blurring the numbers, organizations in precovery accept that the data is what the data is. Period.

3. They understand and respond to the changes in the trading landscape. Most organizations have seen two or three radical, material changes in their trading landscape in the past 18 months in either the demand or supply side of their business – sometimes in both. Whether it’s the need for new pricing strategies, distribution methods, sourcing techniques or workforce configuration, organizations in precovery have identified them and responded accordingly.

4. They plan in a range, not on a line – in other words, their forecasts are not a single line of numbers, but a range of likely outcomes over the medium-term.

5. They are learning, instilling and rewarding predictive agility. A much repeated (if sloppy) analogy is that while management is like playing checkers, leadership is like playing chess. Any truth in that old canard has being sunk in the last 18 months: you no longer get to play a chess move then stop the clock while waiting for your competitor’s response.

Leadership now requires the ability to predict events and make changes accordingly in real time. For those organizations in precovery, leadership is more like gaming (think World of Warcraft or Eve Online), with multiple options being played out simultaneously and in real time.

Your bottom line:

If you haven’t changed how you source, analyze and project metrics; how you generate demand and fulfill supply; and how you define and teach leadership, you’re probably not yet in precovery.