Amanda Setili, in her book Fearless Growth: The New Rules to Stay Competitive, Foster Innovation, and Dominate Your Markets
, quotes Google executives explaining what “smart creatives” are: people who are intelligent in traditional ways but also “always questioning, never satisfied with the status quo, seeing problems to solve everywhere, and thinking [they are] just the person to solve them.” Management accountants who can model that mindset are better able to navigate uncertainty, overcome challenges, and be well prepared for the future. Setili’s book provides a pathway to change the culture of organizations and apply “smart creativity” to strategic planning and goal setting.
The transition can be difficult. The demands to increase sales and profitability are ever present, and budgetary and performance pressures can be overwhelming, particularly when a focus on short-term results prevents senior management from giving long-term strategy the attention it deserves. Growing your company is no longer a matter of rolling out a slightly new and improved version of a product or service and hoping for a boost in sales. Finance leaders know that strategic plans must spur growth without exceeding budget allocations. The fear that results from this stress can be debilitating. That’s where Fearless Growth
This easy-to-read book contains real-life examples of well-known companies applying rules to “stay competitive, foster innovation, and dominate markets.” The first rule is to embrace uncertainty and recognize that you won’t always have all the information you want or think you need. The remaining six rules involve changing organizational procedures and philosophy to create new channels for information to flow and boost innovation. In a world where solving for x in an Excel model isn’t sufficient, it’s critical to seek information from customers, partners, employees, and competitors to help you make better decisions.
In keeping with the theme of being open to doing things differently, Setili provides tools and a diagnostic quiz at setili.com
that are available for free as complements to her book. These materials can help you gauge whether your organization is ready to embrace innovation to fuel growth. If it isn’t, then the book’s insights can help management accountants guide their organization’s strategic planning and set ambitious objectives.