What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? And what is our plan?

If these appear too ordinary questions to ask, think again. “Simple questions can be profound, and answering them requires us to make stark and honest – and sometimes painful – self-assessments,” says Frances Hesselbein in the foreword to The Five Most Important Questions ( www.josseybass.com).

The book of essays by Peter F. Drucker begins with the why of self-assessment. “Your commitment to self-assessment is a commitment to developing yourself and your organisation as a leader,” argues the management guru. “You will expand your vision by listening to your customers, by encouraging constructive dissent, by looking at the sweeping transformation taking place in society.”

As for the mission, Drucker insists that it should be short and sharply focused so as to fit on a T-shirt. “The mission is broad, even eternal, yet directs you to do the right things now and into the future so that everyone in the organisation can say, ‘What I am doing contributes to the goal.’ So it must be clear, and it must inspire.”

Personal network

Many Chinese entrepreneurs, through extensive personal, domestic, regional, and global business networks, are successfully partnering with other businesses, forming virtual extended enterprises that transcend size limitations, observes Ralph B. Edfelt in Global Comparative Management: A functional approach ( www.sagepublications.com).

He cites, as example, the world’s largest footwear firm, Hong Kong-based Yue Yen, which makes branded shoes for Nike and Adidas and has relational ties with thousands of suppliers and subcontractors in China, South-East Asia, and beyond.

D. Murali


(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 13, 2009)
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