The integrated enterprise is not a science fiction phantom; it is
not an abstract ideal that you encounter only in text books. The
integrated enterprise is alive and well and right in front of your
eyes. The integrated enterprise is an organization that is surviving
the global economic forces at work at the end of the twentieth
century. The manufacturing companies that you work in are
integrated enterprises. What will determine their fate in the
twenty-first century is the quality of leadership within the
Webster defines integrated as formed or blended into a whole;
united. How well this integration is accomplished is dependent upon
the leadership of the business. The integration will never be
complete. It is a never ending journey. We can merely measure where
we are on the continuum. The bottom line is the ultimate test. But
profitability can be misleading.
Prosperity is and has been the greatest impediment to growth and
survival of American manufacturing businesses in this century.
Locked into the familiar, trapped by what works, leadership fails to
recognize opportunities in a timely fashion. Catastrophe becomes the
catalyst for change rather than intelligence and vision. Disaster is
the driving force, leadership takes a back seat, and the vehicle for
economic growth and future prosperity, the business enterprise,
self-propelled through the passage of time, caroms off of the
corridors of corporate competition. Crisis management struggles
hard, expends much energy in maintaining the status quo.
Unfortunately, the existing state of affairs is continually being
ravaged by the hands of time. As technology and human intellect have
evolved, the rate of change has accelerated so that what was not
noticeable or comprehensible twenty years ago is today taught in
grade school or seen on television. Change is happening faster. And
unless your business can react and respond in commensurately shorter
and shorter time frames, the fate of the dinosaurs await it.
The role of leadership is to anticipate changes in the business
environment and to proactively create an environment within the
organization that has the ability to react and respond to changes
from both within and outside the company. The integrated enterprise
creates market conditions, influences public opinion, preserves a
healthy ecology. The integrated enterprise is a major player in its
business environment. It unites the elements of the system in which
it operates. Therefore the leadership of the integrated enterprise
must look not only within its boundaries but also must be aware of
conditions outside the organization.
Leadership must combat the effects of managerial inbreeding.
Promotion from within rewards performance and loyalty but also
preserves the status quo producing blind-
ers to innovation and change. Even when brought in from the outside,
executives can fail to see the disparity between the way things have
always been done and creative, new ways of running the business. Or
the new executive may choose to not take on the institutionalized
values, the unwritten policies and accepted practices which define
the culture and are defended by the success rubric—it worked, we
were profitable. These executives, entrenched in their beliefs about
how this business needs to be run, are not leaders. The leader
challenges the policies, procedures and practices along with the
values and beliefs that drive them. The leader not only questions
the way things are done but also challenges everyone to find a
better way no matter how successful they've been. Often this means
creating a crisis internally, when market conditions and the
competition aren't filling the bill.
Without a crisis, no matter what the source, alternatives are
evaluated but always come up short compared to the status quo.
Without disaster looming, it is too easy to fall back into the old
ways, dismissing innovation because it simply wont work here in this
unique business. The leader takes on the way things are and is not
co-opted by the culture and does not buy into the status quo. As an
outsider it is easy to "catch the client's disease," if not
inevitable. The top executive must change more than management
In order to be a force to be reckoned with in its economic
environment, the integrated enterprise must be itself united and it
must be a healthy organization. This is the primary responsibility
of the business leadership. The enterprise has three major
components. Each is as important as the others. They govern as a
triumvirate, a troika.Leadership must deal with each and balance the
three throughout the organization, else integration will not be
achieved. These three elements of the enterprise are structure,
function and culture.
To be Continued
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