What’s your TBO (‘The Big Opportunity’) for 2015?

“How you see your future is much more important than how you see your past.” Zig Ziglar

“Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is the time of year when one hears comments like, “I can’t believe another year has gone by!” or, “Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet?” or, “My, how time flies!” or, “Wow, has this year ever flown by!” or, “Is it 2015 already?” or, “Time is just moving too fast!”

Prolific author, management guru and Harvard professor John P. Kotter is cognizant of the rapidity of the speed of change in our ever-changing world. His 2014 book Accelerate (XLR8): Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World provides some helpful insights as we peer into the new year with our businesses.

The book proposes that each company needs to balance the system of the traditional hierarchy with a new system built for an environment where change has become the norm.  This new system is more agile and network-like but is determined to operate in concert with the hierarchy in a “dual operating system.”  In other words, within our bureaucracy, we need to liberate certain people to operate free of bureaucratic layers.  While some in the company need to focus on management, reliability, quality and efficiency, others must be nimble, swift, and creative, ready to grab opportunities.

While Kotter reviews his well-known differentiation between management and leadership and also his 8-stage process of change (which he calls here the “Eight Accelerators of Action”), one item that caught my attention was the idea of the big opportunity (or “TBO”).  In contrast to vision statements, a TBO is a window into a winning future that is realistic, emotionally compelling, and memorable.  Such an opportunity begets a change vision which begets strategic initiatives.

A TBO is a product of change in an organization’s environment (such as new markets, new advances in technology, or new demands being placed on an enterprise by competition or turmoil), changes inside the organization (such as new products or new people), or both.” 1

What might be the TBO(s) for IBEC in 2015?  Stay tuned for an upcoming blog theme…but they must, according to Kotter, “…be rational (why us, why now, why…), emotionally compelling (a sincere, positive, authentic appeal to the heart) and memorable (clear, short, no jargon).

Here is an example of a TBO for IBEC in 2015:

We may have the opportunity and resources over the next year to create a series of compelling BAM Talks by experts in the Business as Mission world.  This will lay a bedrock foundation for internet viewers to learn what BAM is and why it is important for all of us, and also hear stories of BAM at work.  It is exciting to see so much interest in Business as Mission, but it is important to provide a consistent foundation and real-life stories as we face the challenges of the early 21st century.  We cannot miss this opportunity or we would fail the church in America, and business people who are trying to follow Jesus with their professional capacity.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me…” (Paul of Tarsus)

1 John Kotter, Accelerate – Building Strategic Agility for a Faster Moving World, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston, 2014, p. 133.

Larry W. Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

 

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