Issues that make companies fail their earnings & growth potential, and make leaders collapse

There is a destructive phenomenon in this new reality of “permanent” recessionary times.
Its called collapse.

Business collapse symptoms look like this:click here to read more about these symptoms

  • Businesses are less in control of themselves, losing market share, and shedding brand value.
  • Executives wilting under stress – functionally, medically and financially.
  • Companies not seeing the light of day under a certain strategy.
  • Employees disengaging at an accelerating rate, and even moving on.
  • Shareholders demanding more returns out of a stretched organisation and don’t get them.

Beyond the business environment, the tentacles of this collapse reach into socio-personal lives contributing to fragmented personal relationships, parents spending less time with family, children in therapy, breadwinners medicated to cope. The list goes on, and doesn’t get any better.

So what options exist other than the business carrots dangled out there churning “the next big thing”? Is it the expansive growth being seen in Africa, China, and India, or is it the bigger C-suite remuneration package that supposedly compensates ludicrous work-stress.

Take notice of the word “work-stress”. This is not the word “workload”. The stress from work is because C-suite and other management are in a sandwich being crushed vertically trying to cope with:

Upward pressure from:

  • workforces demonstrating lower appetite for productivity, and
  • higher demands from clients for price competitiveness, expedient supply, and quality of both product and engagement;

and downward pressure from:

  • boards wanting higher earnings, and
  • management battling to articulate strategy and relevant organisational culture.

The underlying cause is the lack of business alignment.

Business alignment is lost when setbacks away from strategy distract the time and minds of leaders. This lack of direction filters rapidly down into the workforce who then indulgently escape measurement and accountability in the midst of the misalignment chaos.

The sad outcome is these misaligned businesses fail to deliver on high profitability and high potential.

This failure is a result of cause-driven and/ or effect-driven misalignment.

A cause-driven misalignment is the failure to create strategy correctly and then veering from the company vision. Direction is lost, driving an eternal catch-up like a dog chasing its tail. The evidence of cause-driven misalignment is the business energy is now focussed into this whirling and putting out of “fires” – instead of being applied into higher sales initiatives, better engagement innovations, seamless process developments, and better quality followed up with stronger market penetration and reaping a better profitability.

An effect-driven misalignment is a failure to relentlessly stick to good strategy. Here energy is simply not applied in high doses. In fact, energy is unwittingly drained from the business by a vampire-like culture.

Effect-driven misalignment is caused by a mix of :

  • Poor training levels.
  • Communication failures internally to staff.
  • Ineffective management of brand.
  • Organisational culture mismatched to the strategy.
  • Poor measurement of staff and low accountability.
  • Slack in C-suite buy-in to strategy and organisational culture.
  • Workforce surrendering productivity under micro-management styles.

Find out more how business alignment can assist your company. www.polarity-consulting.net

Business alignment

Invite us to an open discussion with your executive and management team.
In under one hour we’ll provide insights that your company will find extremely valuable.

Contact us  

click here for contact details

Email:   info@polarity-consulting.net

Telephone: +27 (0)11 792 5394

Follow us:   click here to join our LinkedIn group click here to follow us on Twitter click here to get news from our Page on Facebook 

Visit us: www.polarity-consulting.net


The clock is ticking louder: South African businesses must drive real change in performance, innovation, & engagement

How often do companies feel utter frustration trying to get their management teams and workforces to do one or more of the following?

  1. Perform tasks and work duties at higher levels of performance and aligned with the organisational values and vision
  2. Overcome problems as a reasonable expectation, and tackling more strategic problem solving requirements with gusto, confidence and enthusiasm
  3. Engage proactively inside and outside the organisation with a sense of purpose and drive.

During a session today we debated and brainstormed these pertinent topics. The relevancy of these matters at this point in time, as a continuum of economic slow-down, is being driven by the demands for businesses to achieve higher productivity and competitive behaviour styles. Added to that, the elevated price sensitivities in the marketplace, are inhibiting fiscal inflation of sales values, as well as disallowing discretionary price increases. These competition-driven downward pressures on the top line are squeezing the entire income statement, and ruptures will and are occurring in overheads. These are high risk ruptures, with runaway bills on band-aid short-term solutions to maintain false longevity. Further, the scale of these ruptures for business operating in the current climate are sufficiently large for companies to bleed out and their sustainability becoming marginal, at the very least.

The question is, “Are companies able to identify the root-cause human component factors that are inhibiting performance, innovation, problem solving and engagement behaviour?”
The answer we are seeing is, “No”. Simply answered by the evidence that companies without innovation and competitive brilliancy are being wiped out by competitors located elsewhere in the global village.

At Polarity we’ve identified that these root causes exist outside of businesses, yet we acknowledge that there is an expectation that businesses have to solve the symptoms that they have to endure.

The solution exists in identifying fear-based behaviour(s), analysing it, embedding a philosophy and culture to shift it quickly and applying a relentless healthy pressure on a people based interactive approach to stimulate the environment. Disengagement, problem solving apathy and low performance are symptoms of environmental variables that need to be defined, refined and calibrated on an ongoing basis to eradicate these symptoms.

Variables that will impact organisations are:

  • physical environment – its impact on mental and emotional intelligence stability and resilience, and the knock-on failure effect through an organisation when pressure is applied
  • mental constructs of the workforce – considering that workforces are being drawn from a resource pool that looks and behaves very differently from the earlier pool that business senior management and owners generally came from
  • the reality of the failings in our cumbersome primary and secondary education systems in aligning and keeping abreast of world trends which vehemently demand high creative outputs in rapidly shifting landscapes
  • the poor understanding of subtleties arising out of demographic  diversity
  • the impacts of poor stress management and the knock on effects that bludgeon successful communication, strategic foresight, and expectation management.

To overcome these effects requires senior management and stakeholder courage.  There is an emotional bravery that underscores organisations that leapfrog competitors during economic slowdowns. Few senior management embrace the screams of their organisation’s desire to change, yet ironically demand the highest levels of change and shift from workers.  This can never be achieved because workers simply mimic the example they observe in their reporting lines.

Contact us for an insightful talk to your company on these matters in more detail.

click here for contact details


Email:   info@polarity-consulting.net

Telephone: +27 (0)11 792 5394

Follow us:   click here to join our LinkedIn group click here to follow us on Twitter click here to get news from our Page on Facebook

Visit us: www.polarity-consulting.net

Talent management in recessionary times

Currently our world economy is taking our organisations into areas of stress and the need for change at a speed unseen in the major part of the past century. The stresses that I speak of are the pressing requirement for companies and leaders to urgently and radically see things differently, to do things differently, and achieve a different outcome. The requirement to deal with change has moved from one of coping to one where change has become a strategic given in order to get through this recessionary time. Failure to embrace change with open and visionary eyes, and see it as the lifeline to a future, is not only dangerous but foolhardy. So the question is “Where is the determined change to be applied?”

Here are some areas that historically businesses could have applied change to: innovation in technology, enhanced marketing practices to penetrate deeper into markets and to open new ones, and re-engineered process design. These are all well and good to direct investment into, but I would be likely to say that the human element would have been neglected and if that is the case, the investment returns are precariously balanced in the long term. Using the construction of a house as a diagrammatic illustration of my point, I consider the roof to represent the security from bad weather, the walls to represent the disciplines of marketing, innovation, finance, quality control, operations (as a few), the plinth to represent the pool of human capital within an organisation, and the steel reinforced foundations to be the vision, values and the concomitant strategies of the leadership of the organisation.

In the current economic maelstrom the roof has been blown off and the security that organisations enjoyed historically has flown the coop. The loss of this security threatens the stability, integrity and solidity of market share, threatens funding to innovate and will continue to create instability in many disciplines within companies. The security that came from the roof above, now has to be replaced with a security from below, that is, from the human capital. This wealth and body of skills, knowledge, experience and capacity to be creative in tough times has to be the area of keenly applied interest and investment that leaders must allocate to so that they may see light of day.

Again, I ask a question of the scenario: “Who is the human capital (the talent) that primarily needs to be optimised?” Your executive leadership base right now is your edge, complemented by the middle management tiers, and ultimately reinforced by the skills of the workforce and their disposition to creatively apply those skills to higher performance levels.

The retention of talent, sharing of knowledge, diversification of skills and risk mitigation of the migration of human capital will ultimately be the tangible outcomes arising through well applied talent management. In order that talent management is applied effectively the defining, refining and redeployment of the talent pool needs to be undertaken at every level in the organisation – from executive level, to divisional level, to departmental level…..all the while, this defining, refining, and redeployment being overseen by leaders at each level who themselves are being groomed for the future that is already upon us. This grooming process encompasses all the communication aspects that management is exposed to, but in order for this process to be effective, these to-and-fro communications up and down the channels and across them have to meet at a point called “connection”.  

With connection, all aspects of communication sink deeply into individuals and teams and their ability to perform at distinctly higher levels because they become equipped with understanding. The way in which we at Polarity Consulting see this connectivity being achieved is via the profiling and determination of environmental constants and variables that we offer our clients during the talent management process, and guiding them through changes. The objective is to remove disconnection and institute the connectivity that makes teams dynamic and successful.  

This connectivity unlocks creative potential to bring forth solution minded behavior and a freedom of expression of ideas that frees up senior leadership to take care of the strategic concerns of the organisation.

Contact us to do an insightful talk to your company about these ideas.


Email:             info@polarity-consulting.net

Website:        www.polarity-consulting.net

Phone:           +27 (0)11 792 5394