PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE NEW BUSINESS ORDER

HE old pyramidal corporate structure, with its paternalistic attitude, is being shuffled out of the picture. Passion Makes Perfect shows where we are headed.

And it isn't all good news.

The seas of business are stormy. Companies with top-heavy superstructures will founder, taking those who remain on board with them. The good old days of multi-layered management have had their day. And they'll be gone forever.

So what lies in the immediate future?

Streamlined, low-profile companies where work revolves around flexible, self-managed project teams that focus exclusively on meeting market and customer needs.

As a member of a project team, the company will expect you to provide creative input, even if it means that you have to acquire additional skills. You'll also be expected to respond rapidly to customer demands, making on-the-spot decisions without reference to the top office.

You can expect other differences to confront you. For example, you won't have security of job tenure. You'll only be employed for as long as it takes to complete a project. Your next job will depend on the quality of your current performance. You may even find yourself working on a project for a rival company. In effect, you'll be an independent contractor. As such, you'll have to acquire the skills and knowledge you'll need to survive on your own: not only technical skills, but also finance, marketing and people skills.

If you're a manager now, you're going to find the going tough. The new business order is going to wreck your comfort zone, which involves loyalty to your employer and your need to be part of a large, protective organisation.

Those managers who succeed will adapt quickly to the changes. They'll swing their unquestioning allegiance from a company, to loyalty to the team and its project for the duration that they're involved.

In essence, companies will provide money, opportunities and challenges in exchange for the limited period hire of managers' intellect and expertise. The new order also means that you have to take responsibility for the development of your own career. You'll have to acquire and develop a broad range of skills and update them continuously in line with fluctuating demands in the job market.

Since you won't be spoon-fed in terms of job opportunities, you will have to spend time developing a network of reliable, well-placed contacts to keep you in mind when new projects are launched.

You'll also have to hone your personal budgetary skills. Those rainy financial days, which never seemed to come around when you were securely employed by an old-style corporation, will become prevalent. Because you'll be paid only for what you do, you could find yourself spending long penniless periods between pay days.

In Passion Makes Perfect I've detailed specific challenges that you'll encounter as the business of management drastically transforms itself. In addition, I've suggested ways and means of coping with the challenges and beating them.

Chapter One sets the scene by charting the evolution of business management from the Industrial Revolution. It then propels us to the threshold of the coming Age of Imagination, when intellectual property will become the all-important business asset.

Chapter Two deals with the 'new look' corporate profile. In it I discuss the 10 characteristics essential to achieving the architecture necessary for business survival and growth into the next century. I exhort you to bust corporate bureaucracy and rebuild your company from the ground up, cutting through artificial barriers and streamlining operations.

The ensuing chapters, in effect, provide the blocks you need to build the 'new look', low-profile corporation. It takes the nerve to drastically revise entrenched corporate culture. It also takes major changes in established mindset.

By following my recommendations, you'll be able to ease yourself into the new business order. It won't be easy. But if you have the will, you can do it.

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  Authors Note
    Introduction: Prepare Yourself for the New Business Order
     
1. The Evolution of Change
     
2. Give your Company a 'New Look' Profile
     
3. Run Your Own Show
     
4. Lead, Don't Manage
     
5. Cross Train Yourself
     
6. Become a Self-Contained Profit Centre
     
7. Think Network
     
8. Benchmark Yourself
     
9._ Have Heart
     
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