In evidenza

VERTICAL FARMING: il primo libro divulgativo sul tema in Italia (scritto dai diretti interessati)

Ringrazio l’editore per averci creduto e averci dato la possibilità di realizzare questo importante e impegnativo progetto editoriale. Il libro è molto bello (anche se non sta a me dirlo) e ricco di materiale inedito sul tema. Utile (unico) al momento sul tema per chi volesse approfondire un ambito sociale e imprenditoriale di cui si parlerà a liungo negli anni  a venire… In libreria e  online dalla prossima settimana!

VERTICAL FARMING 1

Alcune rapide considerazioni preliminari: in questo volume parliamo di argomenti assai poco conosciuti dal grande pubblico e dove la letteratura divulgativa sul tema in Italia è inesistente. Per accorgersi che è così basta fare un rapido giro in Rete. Per cui il libro ha tutti i pregi e difetti che si riscontrano in questi casi un po’ pionieristici. Da un lato infatti, il progresso tecnologico, come ampiamente delineato nella Introduzione, può rendere con facilità superato qualunque riferimento troppo schiacciato sulla pur fondamentale componente tecnica sottostante al tipo di business trattato, ovvero quello dell’Indoor Farming. Dall’altro però si corre il rischio di essere troppo generici e poco chiari sugli argomenti trattati.
Questo libro invece vuole rivolgersi:
—— a coloro che si avvicinano per la prima volta a questo tema e vogliono farsene un’idea, fornendo loro una panoramica completa e obiettiva, senza leggersi un trattato tecnico e soprattutto senza avere l’impressione che del tema si voglia una gratuita o interessata esaltazione;
—— a coloro che vorrebbero investirvi in futuro o comunque sostenere in ogni forma progetti di Indoor Farming;
—— a startupper e imprenditori.

GLI AUTORI ( oltre al sottoscritto…)

Bernardo Cigliano dal 2014 approfondisce gradualmente i temi di City Farming e Vertical Farming. Fondatore e CEO di SIX®, Startup Innovativa, tra le prime 100 Startup in Europa per Contest Awards, si specializza sulle tematiche di City Farming e inizia a costruire un Network di interesse europeo, con collaborazioni di condivisione e operative con le maggiori realtà Nord Europee.
Dal 2018 lavora al Project Management per la realizzazione di Tusco®, la prima Indoor Farming dedicata ai Microgreens in Italia, in cantiere da settembre 2019 in Toscana, Italia.
Per Tusco® si occupa della stesura dei piani di Business e dei Modelli di Business generati dai sistemi microeconomici indotti dalla Indoor Farming, nonché dei modelli di Business Development e Innovation. In virtù delle esperienze imprenditoriali
e tecniche accumulate e riconosciute sul mercato, inizia prestigiose collaborazioni, Mentorships, Tutoring e Partnerships con le maggiori Universitàeuropee, con Aziende di Indoor e City Farming in UK, Portogallo, Belgio, Olanda, Italia, Cina.

Luca Travaglini è fondatore con Daniele Benatoff della startup Planet Farms. In un settore imprenditoriale agli albori ma già in forte crescita, le Vertical Farm sono esplose raggiungendo dimensioni ragguardevoli su scala industriale, segnatamente in Usa, Nord Europa e Giappone, con un conseguente picco di investimenti. In questo contesto in frenetica crescita e alla ricerca dei migliori e più stabili modelli di business Planet Farms è oggi la più grande realtà italiana ed europea del Vertical Farming. Produrrà a breve nella Farm di Cavenago una quantità di prodotto capace di fornire il fabbisogno giornaliero per 10-15.000 persone. E sarà un prodotto sano, sicuro, controllato, senza additivi chimici in ogni fase di processo. Lo farà anche nelle prossime installazioni, già definite, in Italia e in Europa, in contesti limitrofi alle città e vicini ai gruppi di acquisto come dentro i nuclei urbani stessi, anche nell’apice brulicante della vita cittadina come nell’impianto di Londra.

Simon Dominiek Allegaert, MSc Food Technology, Food Innovation & Management – Wageningen University & Research . Autore di una tesi su “Development of a Vertical Farm Business Framework – An exploratory research”

Alessio Bontà è uno dei più importanti Private Chef nel panorama italiano. Milanese, negli ultimi 30 anni ha cucinato per importanti famiglie, personalità dello spettacolo, prima di trasferirsi stabilmente nel sud della Toscana, in Maremma, per proseguire la ricerca del Private Cooking in uno tra i contesti privati e ricettivi più esclusivi del panorama europeo.Seppur con predilezione per una cucina semplice, con materie prime di altissima qualità e dai gusti delicati, la curiosità e l’attenzione all’innovazione ha portato Alessio a scoprire le potenzialità dei Microgreens che oggi utilizza costantemente, occupandosi di ottimizzarne e valutarne i parametri sensoriali

 

 

 

 

 

In evidenza

A momentary lapse of …vision?

 vasi comunicanti

What exactly today “assessing the landscape” means?

For every landscape there is a (sometimes hidden) firm’s inscape.

Firm’s perception of the environment affects stakeholders and the external ecosystem as firm models the landscape to match its inner vision.

Inscape represents a cluster of different but complementary concepts such as: company’s culture, it’s peculiar organization, its myths and legends, but also groups policies, procedures, the engine able to produce and keep company’s uniqueness.

Landscape groups the concepts of interest, stakeholder, pressure, competition, opportunity, unknown.

Inscape is instead about having roots, origin, thoughts, feelings, deep knowledge, sometimes places art and aesthetics.

vasi comunicanti 2

But where inscape ends? Where instead landscape begins?

There’s no end in reality, if a company works.

In biology, homeostasis is the state of steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintained by living systems.

This dynamic state of equilibrium applies for firms too. The conditions of optimal functioning for the organism and includes many variables, such as body temperature and fluid balance, being kept within certain pre-set limits. Each of these variables is controlled by one or more regulators or homeostatic mechanisms, which together maintain life.

So between the inscape of a well -functioning firm and its landscape there should be the same relationship we may find among communicating vessels.

In facts, communicating vessels are an inspiring metaphor for understanding the functional link between the aspiration and the goals that a firm is trying to set and realize in the landscape, and the limits and constraints of its inscape. One aspect cannot be separated from the other.

The principle of communicating vessels states that the liquid contained in two containers communicating with each other (no matter how different they are) is, in normal conditions, at the same level.  So the way a company acts in its inscape is immediately reflecting on the landscape, and the other way around like in a mirror tunnel.

From this assumption two consequences are deriving:  a healthy company is one able to keep a dynamic equilibrium between landscape and inscape, no matter its size, no matter how big the landscape may be.

Second, there’s no place for compartmentalization of strategic thoughts: if firm’s action is not about “we, if inscape and landscape are just seen as watertight compartments, that would certainly represent a huge problem. Hopefully, this could represent for some companies just a momentary lapse of vision.

Future is about staying in balance and connecting with creativity and culture both inside and outside of firm’s borders through interaction and not with an on demand and intermittent (and sometimes one -way) communication.

 

 

 

In evidenza

Between Scylla and Charybdis: finance generating (only) other finance.

scilla e cariddi

It’s time for some clear statement about future investments and, above all, about the picture of the future startupper/entrepreneur we want to deal with.

Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters noted by Homer. Sited on the opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the Italian mainland, they were regarded as maritime hazards. Scylla was on the Italian side of the strait and Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily. Trying to avoid Charybdis meant passing too close to Scylla and vice versa.

At the moment, starting up is synonymous of innovation, enthusiasm and risk.

Well, this point of view is seriously endangered by two factors, two major risks surrounding startups.

With Uber shares sinking more than 15 percent below the stock’s initial price, in an article recently published in the NY Times the author hoped that the possible flop of UBER’s listing could represent an epitaph or at least a global warning for supporters of the “winner – take-all” venture capital style model. This distortive investment model, instead of focusing on finding good investment opportunities, aims to create an exclusive “super-unicorns club” (the unicorn is a startup company with an estimated value around 1 billion). This means that VC should only look for companies to be funded with checks between 500 million and 5 billion dollars, basically on the basis of some generic promises of future earnings.

Mainly we are talking about some self-fulfilling prophecies, where, by investing huge amounts in startups regardless of their economic results, many other investors are pushed to do the same. At the same time, these companies, including Uber, are given the opportunity to implement the strategy that was already Amazon’s one, such as benefiting their consumers with very affordable rates and products, simply because, thanks to the enormous funding received, their pockets are deeper than others. Being part of the club then allows this unicorn to do business, on paper very advantageous, with other companies like them, incidentally belonging to the same club.

In other words, we are definitely facing finance that generates finance, without many ties to the real economy and even less with innovation that should instead characterize startups.

This, in addition to diverting capital from really promising startups, and that’s too bad, would also send some wrong and distortive message to young entrepreneurs, something like “it is much better to be a showman than a entrepreneur“, and that’s even worse. a fundamental disconnect between public and private valuations. Not to mention the risks of domino effect an of massive loss of money that this huge disconnect between public and private valuations represents.

In other words finance that generates other finance

So much for factor nr.1

tra il martello e l'incudine

What about factor nr. 2?

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have gained a lot of attention over the past months as an ideal crowdfunding solution but the floor fell out due to the lack of proper regulation putting the investor at risk that also paved the way for fraud. This represented a major economic loss for focusing for investors focusing on blockchain and cryptocurrency-related opportunities.

Despite this major problem, somebody say there is a new turning point, able to represent in a few years a real tsunami for crowfunding and, in general, for venture capitalist. This solution is called STO (security token offering). An STO is a token offering that is similar to an ICO but its main difference is that STOs are regulated, because whereas ICO tokens are sold just on the promise of future utility, security tokens are instead bought for the explicit purpose of making a return on investment.

And here is the new magic spell: tokenization of venture capital. It seems fantastic: in the end tokenization of VC portfolios happens on the blockchain, which offers some additional layer of security, investors can be safer and much more because you are going to invest on tokenized VC portfolio, which means security of investment through diversification, traceability of investments through the blockchain. And on this way, somebody says, we can solve the problems VC are facing: the way-out on their investments, and most of all, the lack of liquidity due to the relatively small percentage of their financed startups having a consistent market success.

Yes, fine, but in future we also would like to have real companies and not with zombies just kept alive with the help of finance.

If you look at pitching material of such tokenization platforms, their mantra is always the same: distributing risk, making the VC job looking like another widespread investment product. But what has this to do with financing “the bold and the brave” startupper? Not much.

Again, the impression is that we are dealing with finance generating other finance

Hope that VC will continue to play “traditionally” their fundamental role on the industrial system, certainly using also the opportunities deriving from technology and evolution of financial world, but always staying grounded on having with their choices an impact on  “real” economy. And good luck to all startuppers having, in addition to their heavy tasks, to navigate between such two hazards, being therefore between a rock and a hard place.

In evidenza

Some key additional pitching hints

picthing 1.PNG

A few general hints on pitching (whatever are you going to pitch/communicate), useful for anyone, as emerging from today’s session. Thanks for the very high quality of your presentations and for your effort.

-beforehand, tell who you are and, briefly, how did you come with the idea.;

product (or service) is king: don’t grasp on details if you don’t show it enough through the use of photos and other illustration;

mission is how to win the battle, vision is about winning the war: they cannot look like each other and/or looking like program. They should represent an inspiring and memorable ideal (try to reading it to your audience while you are testing your presentation: now move to the next slide and try to ask if they remember it. If at least 50% pf people does, you probably did a rather good job;

Canvas is not a concept-fastfood, but instead a place for gourmet, interested in tasting good ideas: therefore you shouldn’t write either too few or too much words, but just the necessary to let people understand and make the right connections …and, by the way, very good if you do it with the help of graphics;

Customer segments: try to describe in a profile what makes that segment homogeneous …if you write down a profile of each category with 80 to 120 words, is perfect. And you may soon realize that a described segment is very often made of slightly different sub-categories…;

Revenues streams: that’s definitely not a secondary subject…try always to be specific on this subject…your potential investors will be happy with it!!!;

Partners, suppliers, or (even) customers? Especially when business model is sketchy it may happen one of the following things: 1. The role of a supplier is underestimated: is not simple to replace, the quality of your stuff is literally depending on it…maybe we are talking about a partner? 2. At the very beginning, there is no way to pay for the purchased service: that supplier MUST be involved as a partner, sharing (if possible) its future success/revenues 3. Sure that what you are indicating as a partner is not instead the real customer of your service? If it controls the necessary facilities, the business relationship and maybe some distribution channel…maybe you should change your mind…;

pitching 2

-always indicate at least 3 possible competitors, and instead 3 companies belonging to your business area that you consider very different from your model and/or having a somehow “old-fashioned” model comparing to yours. That would help you to reaffirm your identity and competitive advantage, and your public understanding clearly what makes you special and different;

Take time for your conclusions: try to give at least try key takeaways to your public, possibly as memorable as your vision.

-…and by the way…is there a possibility for shortening time to market and giving a try for an MVP? I know, easier if you are planning to sell a software, less feasible if your goal is opening a restaurant…but anyway always try to assess the feasibility of this point…

Doing business through listening

orecchio

We only see what we know” said once Goethe.

In entrepreneurial terms we do often the same. But, even more important we do often “listen only to what we like”. And, if we do, the chance of remaining what we are or, even worse, to fail, is very high.

Listening is entrepreneur’s very first friend, because is a powerful way of processing ideas, intuitions, emotions. Seeing sometimes can be immediate but also misleading, whereas listening can’t. It involves time and patience.

In conducting business, you’ll be busy with almost constant change management and with lots of people pretending their expectations to be taken into consideration by your business model. Both of these processes don’t involve at first speaking/pitching, but (apparently) the contrary: developing a deep listening attitude.

There are so many obstacles between a normal and an outstanding listening skill.

Many entrepreneurs and managers see their potential stakeholder like a mere on-demand moral support and reconfirmation service: as not so careful listeners they “download” from their words and messages only what they like and assume that counts as a reconfirmations of the ideas they already have.

More difficult, challenging and useful is being ready to analyse and listen even to those facts and consideration that at a first sight clearly contradict their own theories, being also prepared to change perspective for a while in observing reality.

So if as a human being and an entrepreneur you may learn to switch perspective and use for a while somebody else’s eye, your  listening skills and techiniques  instead are probably what more deeply personal and unique there is in your own identity. Nobody can listen the way you do nor you can ever do it in somebody else’s way. Therefore is so important and can make the difference for your startup project

Skilled listening, is a way of generating and testing new business ideas: it means in facts being able to pay attention to phenomena, eliminating background noise, and get the essential feedbacks from stakeholders, summarizing the content of their word. Mirroring, but in a creative way. (Then probably the better firms are the ones that are able not to mirror but to match, compensate and sometimes even counteract stakeholder messages, but that request time and starts anyway from a good listening phase)

In the end, that’s what a business plan represents: an entrepreneur is someone that find an original way of listening and then of creatively paraphrasing customers’ messages and statements in a way that both sound inspiring and reassuring.

What is essential is invisible to the eye”…but most of the times it can be well perceived by the ears!

 

Is it beautiful?

 

nike.PNG

Is there enough beauty in your firm?

What’s the real motivation behind starting a business up nowadays?

We all know is difficult, hardly successful, time consuming and sometimes lead us to ruthlessy confront with our weaknesses.

Is probably because a real entrepreneur is somehow like an archaeologist, relentlessy looking for some hidden beauty.

Beauty tends to feel like something that must be found in special places—like museums and galleries.

There is neither a ISO standard about beauty, nor a spreadsheet. But the very first question every entrepreneur should ask himself before starting a new business is exactly this one “Is it beautiful?”

Look at the market nowadays: every firms wants to be customer-centric, adapt as much as it can to customer taste, make customer happy: only beautiful things have this ability, because beauty is talking an universal language, neither classic nor modern, able to communicate with everyone. And it may represent a promise of happiness.

Therefore beauty may represent a success- detonator for your business, being able to open the way to happiness, because happiness in the end is strictly related with interaction with beauty: observing something beautiful, experiencing something beautiful, creating something beautiful.

Keep you customer in contact with beauty, and he will be certainly happy: the big seven factors commonly addressed as happiness markers, such as wealth, family relationships, career, friends, health, freedom, and personal values will come right after.

Moreover, most of startuppers look for an efficient organization, able to offer not just effective/efficient performances, but also able to easily adapt to circumstances (and, theoretically, to almost every customer’s request) and to be memorable: there again, beauty plays a role, because what they are really looking for is a way of designing beautiful processes.

Every process in the end is a flow chart, like every painting is made of colours, but there is a slight difference between the Mona Lisa and a forgery.  So, be creative in designing your business, even with the elements that seem “cold”: beauty is contagious so even a flyer, a visiting card, am office, a presentation, a logo, a packaging may represent an important fact.

bruco farfalla

Nowadays, there are firms that created in their organizational chart the role of Chief Happiness Officer, in its essence, an HR Manager with the task of engaging employees, motivating them and raising performance levels through the enhancement of their happiness level. We believe instead that putting managers in charge of searching/pretending from their resources non just a high performance but a beautiful performance, and training people to always look for some inspiring beauty all around them, even in the small details,  is even more important.

The next little thing

 

mattoni

Probably everybody knows that story about a guy who meets three builders on their lunch break. “What are you doing today?” he asks the first. “I’m putting brick after sodding brick on top of another,” complains the first. “What are you doing today?” he asks the second. “I’m building a wall,” replies the second. But the third builder instead replies: “I’m building a cathedral!”

Clearly, the encouragement between the lines is that you really need to get out of the so-called “Doorway Effect” and that a process as well as an action needs to be thought of at multiple levels if it has to be successful.

So that means that the first two builders were wrong?  We can answer by saying that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”: if you don’t start putting (efficiently) a brick on top of another there will be no cathedral at all.

As strange as it may sound, in the real world the same person can’t exist in two times and places, but firm can

                     .the next little thing

If you look at the big picture, suddenly the cathedral will appear in your eyes. Then probably you’ll be inclined to concentrate with the following things:

benchmarking: how the other cathedrals were built?  How do they look like?  Which is the most beautiful?

innovation: what’s next? Real innovation means projecting a new cathedral or instead thinking about a breakthrough building something completely different of even more ambitious?

If instead you are one of the first two builders, welcome in a completely different world. Welcome in the world of incremental innovation. In such a case innovation is about:

benchmarking: mostly an internal matter. Who’s the most efficient builder? Who, between the subjects performing task similar/equal to mine, is adopting an approach that can be transformed into a best practice?

improving the process: how can I put a brick on top of another quicker (and better) than ever before?  Can I think of adopting some slightly different material?  Can I reduce errors/waste?

innovation:  mostly incremental.  The most widespread kind of innovation. It means an innovation that concerns an existing product, service, process, organization or method whose performance has been significantly enhanced or upgraded.

Here is the point. In your organization you need to frame both things: both the brick and the cathedral. Looking for disruption will be an healthy and wonderful bet on a different future, but in the end every great innovation will become routine and incremental innovation is the only thing that will allow your firm to stay ahead in business. And this  matters for every firm and business environment, not just for low-wage countries or ow- and medium-technology industries or mature firms.

Yes, because incremental innovation is important, being largely the dominant form of innovation.

In facts, blue ocean is some kind of unicorn. Rounded on the side of caution 90% of innovations is like that: a small continuous process where innovation is always in the next brick, or wall. In facts, buliding a new cathedral can be challenging, being disruptive can be fashionable and sound positively ambitious too, but at the other side its a very complex process, rather than a discrete event, and generally implies a sophisticated and risky process

And so what?

There are anyway some typical warnings to be taken into account:

Is your firm sensitive to incremental innovation? This is strictly related to giving the chance to your team to exchange their experience, concentrate on product/service specification, register/formalize those small improvements

Does your firm reward incremental innovation?  This not just about providing training and know how but also being ready to timely transform a series of positive experiences and practices into best practices, and into a continual advance in change management process,

-does your firm look for innovation hidden in (apparently) daily /routine processes and practices?

matrioska

How is R&D managed inside your company? What about  its objectives and priorities?

That will be a useful exercise: from time to time, asking your team about the way they see their job. Are they taking the brick/wall or cathedral side?

 

The Naked Pitcher presents: LAB-ON-CHIP & BIO-DATA ANALYTICS. A new event.

lab on chips and biodata

Recent interdisciplinary scientific developments and new technologies in the near future will allow, thanks to new diagnostic approaches, to abandon a system where prevention is sporadic and medical intervention is conceived right after the onset of a disease and move on to a new preventive, predictive, personalized model with routinary, constant on going controls.  We would then move from a structured model to treat the diseases to a structured proactive model to prevent the onset of diseases, which would allow all citizens to enjoy those social rights enshrined by the Constitution, specifically the right to health, while reducing global expenditure on health.

 

 

 

Thanks to Dr. N. Mastrolia for his special  effort on this field. The Naked Pitcher takes part and supports the Eleatiche Study & Reseach Centre on Possible Futures and Scenarios “Eleatiche – Centro Studi sui Futuri Possibili” .  

locandina napoli chips and biodata

Mismanagement 2: some further antidote

 

 

torre d'avorio

 

Due to the interest on the previous article (Mismanagement) here some further clarification and (hopefully) useful “mismanagement predictors

  1. Communication: many ISO standards and reporting guidelines too are concerned with concepts like “stakeholder engagement”/ “communicating with stakeholder”. Make sure that managers into your organization do not operate in vacuum: management is certainly made of a personal vision and some important beliefs, but is mainly about keeping a constant contact with reality, and performing as many “reality checks” as possible. Therefore, in this field, the sooner the better; introducing and using such standard as ISO 9001:2015; ISO/IEC 20000 and guidance or reporting guidelines such as ISO 26001 or GRI (https://www.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx) forces even the most reluctant manager to have an (official) dialogue with representatives of the “real “ world. To hear their voice, to answer their questions, makes more difficult mismanagement and unrealistic or just selfish behaviour to take place. Keep also in mind that the above mentioned standards are based on a widespread concept of sustainability: it means getting used to evaluate managers not just for their immediate results, but also based on how sustainable those results are;
  2. Training: training means empowering people; it means also knowledge sharing: being most of the companies nowadays based on knowledge, having in place an advanced training program is certainly a powerful message. It means that your company is creating the preconditions for reducing information asymmetry between different organizational levels, and, most important, the preconditions for supporting change through the creation of a new (internal) generation of managers. Generally speaking, organizations that support individual change show aòso a much better overall organizational readiness to change at all levels;
  3. Permeability: sometimes, an organization loses the capacity of timely transmitting the right signals through all the different organizational levels, like it happens in a body when nerves get damaged. That equals to slowly insulating managers in an ivory tower. Mismanagement can therefore occur as a result of a not intentional behaviour, but instead of an organizational pathology that drastically reduces firm’s sensitivity for changing environmental conditions;
  4. Customers: in many innovative business models, customer is CEO, being able to determine product/service changes, influence company’s marketing and communication, etc. A possible antidote to mismanagement is to renovate from time to time the extensive survey on “customer’s needs/voice” that surely every founder performed at the very beginning of its entrepreneurial journey. Just because you were once able to listen carefully to your customers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that now it has to be always the other way around (customers passively adopting your smart product/services);
  5. Suppliers: yes, suppliers are very important partners. Sometimes even irreplaceable. But suppliers are firm too, and exactly like clusters and networks of firms can suffer the effects of mismanagement resulting in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome that discourages critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints. So from time to time, experiencing and testing new approaches, experimenting new partners starting from non-critical processes can provide to the management an healthy internal benchmark. In fact, not always relying on the usual solutions is a good antidote to mismanagement too.
  6. Organizational climate: Yes, is very important to enjoy a positive organizational climate. Everybody knows that. But a two things should be stressed more than others:

a)The importance of a mistake. The ability of management to address and communicate with examples, because it seems that especially managers are afraid to set the right example by openly admitting they did something wrong (not understanding that there is much more to learn from a mistake than from a success), but if they do, they develop antibodies to mismanagement and so does the organizations they lead, because they are permitting a person to do things incorrectly or make errors of judgment without consequences, empowering themselves and learning how to take and handle risks. Mismanagement occurs where and when an organization is not taking risks anymore;

b) Organizational Forgiveness: it’s an important antidote, because it means being able to accept conflict, accept different point of views, leading the organization objectively and without taking revenge on those standing on the other side of an issue and opposing a change.

Mismanagement

virus

Mismanagement is a virus affecting all kind of organizations, in every state of their growth. Mismanagement is a real plague of entrepreneurship,

Mismanagement can be seen as a degeneration of leadership, when leaders stop producing added value for their firms and literally feed on their own organizations, sometimes causing its death.

Why is that?  There isn’t probably a specific reason, but a combination of many causes.

Bringing competition inside the organization instead that concentrating outside is one of them; excess of self-confidence is another: just because once you were  successful, that doesn’t make you all of a sudden a world’s expert on everything. (Know one’s limit is the key for success: as a manager and leader you should know that is exactly there, reaching the limits of your abilities, where you should find partners and teammates ready to help you integrating your skills)

Mismanagement is often connected with the trend of over-simplifying problems; not considering possible alternatives and assuming that compromise in necessarily negative.

As a matter of fact, a good manager, a leader, is one able to recognize a mistake, and transform it into an opportunity of improvement: sometimes instead is easier to blame someone else for your problems, bring into play “external factors” for misfortune (Yes, Napoleon used to ask, before promoting someone at his service “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?”, but I think that a manager should mainly be architects of their company’s fortune).  This is very often associated with ambiguous internal communication/talking company’s jargon: then communication within the company is meant only for initiated members, excluding the rest of the world.

Finding/inventing an (imaginary) enemy” is a common strategy adopted when motivation or enthusiasm is on the wane, but this is good only if we are discussing about healthy competition. Healthy competition provides motivation but this is not the case if a leader is constantly managing the firm against something or someone looking for destruction rather than construction.

Somehow this is about self-deception; mismanagement uses information asymmetry inside the organization to focus the attention of middle management and human resources towards fake targets; it’s always easier to deceive ourselves than someone else.

But the “find an enemy” syndrome attacks the organization too: mismanagement brings into the organization the culture of suspicion, an overall and contagious lack of confidence in each other’s skills, and this is sometimes able to jeopardise company’s ability to take decisions; Due to this general feeling of mistrust is easier:

  • Taking too quick decision, trusting only your own faction opinion;
  • Deciding not to decide, when in doubt that a certain decision might be favourable to “internal enemies” (the other faction);
  • Looping the decision process

When an organization breaks up into factions, you are missing the big picture: instead always act (professionaly) local but feel global: give the best highly specialized contribute to your company, but never miss the big picture. Just because you’ve got done properly your piece of the puzzle it doesn’t mean your job is over. Final success depends also on how conscious and respectful you are of the colleague who’s in charge of putting the last piece.

Let’s put this way: “Don’t ask what your company can do for you, ask what you can do for your company”!!!

Mismanagement has sometimes huge consequences:

  1. Improper use of resources;
  2. Bad (or even impossible) strategic planning;
  3. improper use of datas;
  4. Loss of company’s identity .

Here a test to perform in order to avoid mismanagement practice and discover its early symptoms:

  1. Is internal training efficient? There are enough investments on this process? And in measuring effectiveness of delivered training?
  2. Management invest and improves internal communication? How long it takes for bottom-up communication? Hoe many “filters” there are? (f.i. is possible that a message/suggestion form the base reaches the attention of CEO?)
  3. Is company investing in R& D as it happened before? What happens next to projects? Is the time to market of relevant ones in line with the past?
  4. Is management conducting routine company’s organizational climate surveys?
  5. Is company measuring (when possible in many active and alternative ways) customer satisfaction and listening to the “voice of the customer”?
  6. How you will define overall company’s transparency?
  7. Is turnover trend under control in your company?
  8. From time to time, is company performing surveys on suppliers/evaluating possible new ones?
  9. Concerning communication and decisional processes: is possible to define and to keep under control an overall “crossing time”, expressed as time needed for an information to be delivered crossing all company’s organizational and decisional levels or for an authorization to be given to someone into the company? Is this time proportional to the importance of a certain decision?
  10. Is your organization feeling comfortable with the concept of recognizing a mistake? F.i. is taking care of internal and external claims? There is space for submitting complaints or simple suggestions? Is internal communication using only words like “success”/“challenge”/ or also words like the concepts of “issue”; “difficulties”, “experience”; “challenge”? Sometimes apologize is an act of courage and true leadership.