Don’t wait for recovery: focus and drive forward

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When will the business climate improve? – wrong question! I’m not usually a fan of Fortune – too focused on personalities, rather than what actually gets done and works – but great item by Ram Charan explains with some good examples [GE and environment services group Nalco] that  strong companies are looking to drive forward, rather than hunkering down and hoping. Yes, they have cut costs and conserved cash, but refocused to position themselves for growth.

One intriguing piece of Nalco’s response was a deep review of their product range, leading to them ‘blowing up’ hundreds of under-performing products. I’ve noted before that over-extension is a common route into trouble – adding too many products, chasing too many new markets and small customers, starting too many initiatives etc just to be seen to be delivering growth. So a question for Nalco might be ‘If you just killed hundreds of poor products, how come you didn’t do that years ago?’

Later in the same issue, Fortune reports on Pfizer’s re-worked drug development process which includes an interesting slogan – ‘Kill early and often’. Focus does seem to keep reappearing as a feature of strategically successful organizations.

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