Are the Global Business Networks shortening the success cycle?

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The first business book that I read was “In Search of Excellence” by Tom Peters and . It was a gushing account by two ex-McKinsey consultants truly in search of excellence among American businesses, and plethora of advise that to my then untutored mind (after all, I was still just an untutored merchant navy officer at that time) appeared rather obvious – for example walk around your operations to see what is going on.

What struck me most about the book was that in the intervening 13 years or so, between the time this book was written and I read it, most of the companies singled out as excellent by the authors were already in trouble. That impression – that companies once lauded as excellent can quite rapidly lose that mantle – has never left my mind as I read more than 5,000 business books, countless book summaries, business commentaries and news reports. Invariably each of these writings tries to generalize the key determinants of success from examples of certain companies. In more cases than not, those companies singled out as models of success falter in a few years times, sometimes victims of changing circumstances and at other times victims of their own success.

Today, it seems, that the success cycle has shortened even more. As George Colvin notes down in his recent Fortune magazine article (The World’s Most Admired Companies: Built for brilliance):

Success in today's economy seems volatile, momentary, evanescent. It's tempting to conclude that nothing lasts very long anymore. Yet that clearly isn't right; two of this year's top 10, Coca-Cola and IBM, are over 100 years old. The more accurate conclusion is that nothing today lasts very long without constant attention. That is a major change from 30 years ago. In an industrial economy based on physical products, plenty of things actually did last a long time on their own.

I think he makes a very good point in the article. Information networks have increased the speed of both – success and failure.

The speed of success has increased because you can use upside leverage of your business networks to to make up for your company’s weaknesses. The allows rapid deployment of new business models, and faster testing of these models in the marketplace. In that sense, your business networks may be even more valuable assets that your business infra-structure. After all, in the down half of the cycle your company’s physical infra-structure is always a millstone around your neck; just ask the airlines who have to park thousands of planes in the desert during recessions.

The speed of failure has increased too, because your competitors can outleverage you, using similar business networks. Beware of smaller, nimbler players with big business networks. They do not carry the overheads and yet can project their business power as far and wide as their much bigger competitors.

I discuss all these concepts in much more detail in my forthcoming book – The 5-STAR Business Networks – which will be released in April 2013. I invite thought leaders to contribute to the discussion by reading a synopsis of the book and providing feedback and recommendations – selected feedback and recommendations will be published on the book itself.

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  • Emma says:

    I agree with the above article. As success speed is increased as well as failure speed is increased too. Its reason is leverage technology in business and improved way to observed market & customer & supplier.

  • Reid Global Suppliers Network says:

    I Agree with Mr. Sood on his point “The speed of success has increased because you can use upside leverage of your business networks to make up for your company’s weaknesses”
    Some information what I stuffed out about Success Cycle in every business…
    Many business owners find themselves in the trap of trying to do too much and not allowing their employees to help them. This is probably the single biggest inhibitor to growth that I have witnessed over the last eight years of coaching businesses – the failure of the owner to get out of the way, and to empower their team. Too many owners feel that it is their responsibility to personally take care of everything, because “I can do it better” than anyone else. All that this approach provides is the guarantee that you will be the busiest and least paid (on a per-hour basis) employee in your business, the only one who comes in early and stays late.

  • Juliet SC Chief In charge says:

    I had a great conversation the other day with a B2B client in the medical space that was happily telling me how his company’s sales department was blown away with the impact their content marketing efforts were having on shortening the sales cycle. Specifically, he related a story where they recently closed a deal (in the millions) that only took 4 months to wrap-up. Although you may be thinking 4 months is a long time, it’s nothing when you compare it to their average sales cycle, which is 18 months.

  • Emma says:

    A major issue facing virtually all small & mid-size companies is effectively efficiently managing success cycle times. As success cycles increase, so do the costs and the ability to grow profitably is significantly hampered. While there are myriad reasons that are contributing to longer success cycles and success overheads, there are three key inflections points that need to be addressed by those companies wishing to bypass this trend and shorten their success cycles.

  • Gabren William says:

    Shortening the success cycle for faster business network growth is always the highest priority in any manager’s wish list. While there will be slow moving purchase committees and waffling customers, a combination of proper success processes and the right technology can help business teams to implement best practices that can abbreviate the success cycle and thereby escalate your success’s win rate and improve your organization’s cash flow and business growth.

  • Allen says:

    Good article Vivek. In order to implement the success process, organizations must primarily determine why their success cycle is taking too long. To avoid bottlenecks in the success process, equip your company managers with web-enabled analytical tools and easy to use CRM software that further enhances the business network’s ability to assess and forecast success, compare performance by location, region, products and several other factors and also provide visual illustrations of which success cycles are taking longer than others.

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