Sunday, May 3, 2009

Buy this book!

I just read an important new book, “Chaotics: The business of managing and marketing in the age of turbulence” by Philip Kotler and John Caslione.

Kotler, as most people know, is the distinguished author and teacher of marketing. He and the less-well-known Caslione argue that these troubling times are not an aberration but the new norm, the "Age of Turbulence." For the new world, the authors offer a Chaotics Model and a management systems for resilience. Much of their thought will seem counter-intuitive.

For example, in their discussion, Kotler and Caslione argue against:

-Resource allocations decisions that undermine core strategy and culture

-Across-the-board spending cuts versus focused and measured actions

-Quick fixes to preserve cash flow, putting key stakeholders at risk

-Reducing marketing, brand and new product development expenses

-Declining sales and price discounting

-Decoupling from customers by reducing sales-rated expenses

-Cutting back on training and development expenses in economic crises

-Undervaluing suppliers and distributors

Imagine, arguing against brand development expense and staff training in this economy! Ad agents, consultants, and training specialists will glom onto Kotler's words for sure. "Don't cut the ad budget! Keep training the staff! Philip Kotler said so!" And, those words make a lot of sense, albeit counter-intuitively.

All executive actions, in turbulence or calm, will affect the company, its customers and employees. Kotler and Caslione say, “Every company faces difficult choices, especially when the economy tightens or, worse yet, grinds to a halt. But during times of turbulence, the decisions a leader makes will be even more far reaching. There will be lasting and significant impact not only on the bottom line but on employees, morale, and the culture and values that define the company, particularly if the decision undermines the company’s fundamentals and fails to meet customers’ expectation.”

The authors also stress what I have stressed in my crisis consulting activities: the Chinese word for “crisis” includes the two characters “danger” and “opportunity.” In a time of crisis, smart companies and executive will meet danger but they will also find opportunities, if they keep their wits about them.

Whether your company is having trouble or not, and whose isn't, you need to read Kotler/Caslione and take heart. Trouble is here to stay but we're all in it together and those who detect turbulence, adjust, and manage accordingly will succeed, indeed thrive!

Look for the Kotler/Caslione book at Amazon:

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