Article

Greta Paa-kerner
Greta Paa-kerner 1 June 2015

Self-Tune Your Business; Don't Create A Dusty Strategic Masterpiece

Companies benefit from smaller incremental tuning rather than clunky big-scale strategic initiatives.

Alibaba was recently named the most valuable brand in the world by BrandZ’s global annual ranking, but how did it get there?



And how did it get there is such a short period of time? The answer lies in what a recent Harvard Business Review article highlighted, it’s their ability to self-tune.

According to the @HarvardBiz article called The Self-Tuning Enterprise, Alibaba continually reinvents itself and continuously self-tunes in algorithmic-style thinking. As with a self-tuning algorithm, a company should be able to experiment, adjust and influence in a dynamic and complex environment.

For a company, it’s about creating a culture that rewards flexibility, curiosity and staff empowerment so that the company can continually re-tool itself based on new market conditions. Self-tuning is a key component of this flexibility and this is especially important for companies in fast fashion or technology that face a dramatically changing landscape.

Companies trading in any sector that is unrelentingly disruptive should self-tune rather than point their bow on the horizon and set sail. Self-tuning means adjusting in smaller iterations rather than the clunky top-down strategic planning cycles that companies usually follow. It means experimenting and continually resetting the vision. But self-tuning requires a different corporate DNA.

What Alibaba has demonstrated is that excellence comes from having a pulse on the market and an internal mechanism to respond to it. Its self-directed and not centrally mandated. There are key elements to their success which include:

  • Customer involvement 
  • Staff empowerment 
  • Continuous experimentation 

And lastly, a note for retailers, Alibaba Group recently re-calibrated its vision and dropped the “e” from “e-commerce”. Their vision now reads, “We aim to build the future infrastructure of commerce.”

Given this change, as well as the findings of a recent report by Digital Deloitte about the fact that commerce has merged, retailers should take heed. 

About Author:

Greta Paa-Kerner (@gretapk) is a guest lecturer on digital and affiliate marketing and a management consultant through Ganduxer Consulting. Visit her blog and LinkedIn profile

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