Tuesday, November 6, 2012

C. Suite Strategies – How Competitive are You?

We chose “competitiveness” as the theme of our Fall 2012 newsletter. For most of us in business, it’s one of the key questions on our minds – “How can I become or stay competitive in an increasingly challenging and changing business environment?” A concern for the competitiveness of our businesses underlies every conversation, whether we’re talking about the U. S. national debt, impact of social media or threats from globalization.

Now that the U.S. presidential election is over, most business leaders are trying to figure out what the “new normal” will mean and how it will impact our ability to compete. The phrase “fiscal cliff” is on everyone’s lips and is expected to present the first opportunity for our elected leadership to demonstrate whether they can compromise and find solutions or whether last year’s stalemate will be next year’s disaster.

At the heart of the “fiscal cliff” debate is the national debt, its drag on our economy and inhibitor of America’s global leadership. How can America be a respected global leader if we cannot manage our own finances? How can our businesses be competitive at home and abroad if we are buried with egregious taxes, crippled with expensive mandates and smothered with anti-competitive regulations?

Renowned Harvard professor Michael Porter is leading a prestigious team in devising a plan to “rescue American’s economy.” Porter’s team believes it is completely wrong for most debates on the U. S. economy to focus primarily on action by the federal government. Hmmm. Not sure I’m buying that.

In this project to identify America’s competitiveness, Porter’s “all-star team” is working on a rescue plan for the U. S. economy. The team notes three major ways businesses can lead in restoring America’s competitiveness.

First, pursue productivity. We are encouraged to run our operations well, drawing on unique American strengths. But that may not always mean keeping all operations in the United States. 

Second, improve the communities that surround our businesses. We should appreciate the importance of the local business environment and do what we can to strengthen our communities by helping improve skills, upgrading supporting industries, supporting entrepreneurship and innovation and boosting regional strength.

Third, rein in self-interest. We are encouraged to pursue policies that improve the American business environment, rather than those that are purely self-serving. The tax code, described as a “rat’s nest of earmarks and subsidies in the federal budget,” needs to be simplified and constructed with an eye toward the common good of the economy.

Read the entire article here

In summary, Porter’s Competitiveness Team encourages business leaders to lead in regaining competitiveness rather than wait for Washington.

I’m willing to do my part. I just hope that Professor Porter’s team and all of us business leaders will be able to inspire our elected officials to act as statesmen rather than politicians, and work together toward the health of America – economic and otherwise. 

Let’s hope our leaders step up, figure out how to put partisanship aside and set a direction for our country that will put the United States back on a path of free enterprise-driven prosperity. 

If stepped up PR, social media or marketing can help strengthen the competitiveness of your business, let’s talk. We’re helping numerous clients with powerful social media strategies and integrated communications campaigns that drive business results. Maybe we could help you.

This post was contributed by Cynthia Pharr Lee.


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