What´s up with water: Pouring water into your corporate strategy (VIII) Water in the oceans
Before starting another weekend, the last one of the month of May, we would like to close our work for the week with a short article. We can write wonders about the oceans, and there are many expert fellows out there on google that can offer us a complete overview of it. Ultimately if you want to discern the impact of the oceans beyond the bio-marine perspective, we kindly encourage you to initiate your roadmap to that discovery with a visit trip to the nearest seashore to where you live. If you can do it over the weekend, that will be amazing. The experience of listening to the waves, the impact of the ocean water on the rocks or the soft sand, the amazing views that the ocean gifts us with the sunrise or the dawn, the salty air shocking our cheeks, and the smell of the place, everything a will tell you in one hour, all that I am trying to tell you during this saga. In addition, if you watch plastics, and garbage all over the sand, that is also a sign. Once you feel the ocean on your skin and 5 senses, you will immediately be called to say thanks to God. Our appreciation of the oceans should be a daily reminder that we are what we are because of the oceans. The regard sentiment awakens in us, once we deem the ocean vastness in front of our souls. If by chance, in your visit to the sea, you are blessed to observe a pair of seagulls, or a band of pelicans playing with the waves, or a solitaire heron searching for snails, or suddenly some crabs stumble with the shells or you uncover a couple of turtles, or a giant whale chanting with you… all of what you will see is just a minuscule tiny piece of the ocean, compared to all that is inside of it, that we don’t know, and probably will not understand unless you are a practitioner of the ocean. Not even the sailors can help us too much about the ocean either, sailors know some things about the oceans but not all. Probably only the scuba-divers and the scholarly oceanographers who go deep into the water seas are able to tell you what is all about there. The oceans are an experience on their own. That is why we must appreciate and respect the oceans with all our hearts, as a pivotal element in our living passage on earth.
Find attached our updated outline and the message of our slides for you today.
Corporate strategy is about caring for the oceans. Our strategic rationale that oceans require our attention, goes beyond the interpretation of the meaning of corporate strategy per se. Remember, we stick to the notion that corporate strategy defines the scope of the firm in terms of the industries and markets in which it competes. Corporate strategy is about decision-making because once we decide what business, immediately we land into deciding about how to enter the industry of that business we should play. These decisions require that we invest time in finding the right business, then formulating the strategy process on how to grow the business. With time, we also need to learn to decide on how to stabilize it, or how to retrench. And that is how in theory we land into decisions of several forms that have a jargon name in strategy: vertical integration in our value chains (either with outsourcing, all made in our domains, long-term contracts, etc). That is how we disembark into decisions of expansion by geographic locations (or horizontal integration), or by increasing the range of products and services (called adjacencies). We also land into portfolio analysis. And we also debark into establishing our resources and capabilities. If you wish to learn more about the domains of corporate strategy, we have dedicated an exclusive saga for it “The hare and the tortoise: the race is not to speedy”. But how do we connect the dots between the domains of corporate strategy and the oceans? So easy. Because each decision that we take in corporate strategy needs to consider our contribution to keeping the water cycle (this includes mainly the oceans, the freshwater ecosystems, the atmosphere, the geography of the land, the inland waters, etc) free of alteration and pollution. Remember that 96% of our water remains in the oceans, that is why keeping the oceans safe is crucial for our survival.
When we set corporate strategy frameworks in a separate condition of our oceans, we are dismissing the causes that will hurt the most the future generations. The water cycle is not separate from our living. In addition, we (as humans) hold the unique responsibility for what will happen to us (on every continent) and to the rest of the species, living inland, in wetlands, and inside the ocean. Once human beings see themselves as administrators of the well-being of the current and next civilizations to come, the first thing that we must treasure is our sources of life, and water is the most important one. The whole global water cycle, not just the freshwater ecosystems (which includes all the following factors that you can see in slide #3 above, such as surface-ground water schemes, atmosphere, earth-land, plants, and vegetations, soil, transpiration, evaporation, rains or storms, ocean storage, salt, and of course climate change) (1). If we are aware of the vastness and fragility of our oceans, and how these have been impacted because of our lack of caring for our products, services, industries, and business; then immediately, but without any doubt or hesitation, we disembark to a reality of including water in our corporate strategy frameworks.
Once water is included in our corporate strategy decision making. Every single CEO and Board of Directors on earth needs to care about the oceans. For decades, many have been worried about freshwater systems, but not about the ocean. By understanding the water cycle, we know by now, that the salty ocean is the storage for our survival. So everything is interconnected. If we damage the oceans, we hurt our freshwater ecosystems. If we injure the groundwaters and streams, we are vandalizing the oceans. If we pollute the air, we are triggering acid rains that are also damaging our health, the freshwater ecosystems, and the oceans. Alors, everything is bonded in between.
Once we put water as one of the core elements in our corporate strategy formulation, then we are generating a cascade of blessings to the whole civilization and species; to the time and future of our descendants ahead. The backbone of our existence must not be the technology at the core, but our water cycle, the land, the freshwater sources, and so the oceans. And as soon as we realize this, then of course we will begin to make correct decisions in corporate strategy. For example, let´s consider the case of a development financial entity that is planning to invest in developing nations. Every single decision about approving or not the investments has to protect the natural sources of water and nullify the contamination of the water discharges. That means no septic tanks that may contaminate the groundwater, no direct sewage discharges from industrial facilities to our rivers (even if they come from sewage-treatment plants and no release of contaminants into the air, no selling products or services with plastics that can´t be recycled, no authorization to offer anything that may destroy or affect the quality of water during the whole water-cycle). The same applies to the modification of river valleys or alteration of the atmosphere. Of course, it seems simple and straightforward on paper, but if you take this level of caring to each and all companies (including SMEs, which represent more than 90% of the enterprises on earth), then the impact of caring for the oceans is huge. And the majority of business models won´t pass the standards of caring for the oceans, not even the most advanced multinational corporations.
What happens to the oceans happens to us. When humans do not consider the water cycle in their business models, the corporate strategy is null. It is up to each of us to find out what are we doing with our businesses that are combining pollution and increasing climate change disasters. If we have a piece or a segment of our business (in its value chain) that doesn´t care for water and the oceans, we should stop operating. As strict as that. Then if we wish to continue, it is important to take a pause or to take a break in several years for investing in research and find clean ways of doing our products and services, so we can begin to care for the oceans. A drastic change of mentality for corporate strategists in our businesses is ahead.
Lack of knowledge about the oceans. In summary: With our strategic wrong decision making, we are killing our ocean’s operational water cycle, we are slaughtering the living species, including migratory birds, affecting the currents of the seas and we are exterminating species that we still don’t know exist. It is estimated that we only know around 30% of the total species that live inside the ocean, so we still need to discover plenty. Instead of going out of our atmosphere to find information about what is happening up in space, we should begin with the understanding of what we have on our planet, but inside the earth. If we don´t know where are we living, little we can do to appreciate it, love it, and so on to care for it.
Let´s continue with our musical contribution for today.
Strategic Music Section:
Why did we choose Christian Li in our last episode? This younger fellow virtuoso of music is relatively new. He was born in Melbourne, Australia in 2007. But he started to play the violin at 5 years old ( the second video shows Li´s initiation). He came to international attention in 2018 when he became the youngest ever winner of the Menuhin Competition, winning the joint Junior 1st Prize in Geneva. Fame came to this little boy, at an earlier development age.
Understanding the importance of pausing. The reason why we chose him for this saga is a reflection of pausing. Christian, is a symbol of the importance of using interludes in life (particularly at a young age) so without distractions around, he was forced to see his talent development process, discover and study for advancement and refinement. “Before the pandemic (the year 2019), Christian, as a star rising, was scheduled with multiple music festival appearances that had to be postponed, canceled, or rescheduled”(2). But the COVID19 paused Christian with his plans. So, Li used this pausing time to expand his repertoire, study, and concentrate on perfecting the little details so that he can make a difference later. He also paused to finally explore new music, the history, and great figures of the classical canon. The pandemic has made him mature in relation to the meaning of halting for a few years. If the pandemic recess wouldn´t happen, he probably could have spent his hours busy, rehearsing for concerts but not concentrating on learning better or even reinventing himself. In the field of corporate strategy, to temporarily halt our commercial endeavors shouldn´t be seen as a subject of opprobrium and condemnation, or what is worst, as a reason to remove higher talents that are under development. Our consulting/academia industry, and many other industries, are ungrateful to professionals who take extensive years of pause to reflect on their theories. It is naïve to dismiss experts who take a break, people like me for example. I was forced to pause in proceedings by living in El Salvador. To cease temporarily for some hiatus years, in order to continue learning, polishing ourselves, and studying autodidactically in order to be excellently prepared than those who remained in the workforce, should be a motive of celebration and support instead. And this applies to every single virtuoso of any discipline on earth.
Songs of today belong to Hillary Hahn. Ms. Hahn doesn’t play with a Stradivarius yet, but with another oldie instrument made by Vuillaume in 1865; so Hahn´s instrument model is a replica of the 1715 Alard Stradivarius. She can’t be missed here. Two videos of her accompany us today: the piece Largo from Bach’s Sonata for Violin Solo No. 1. The second song is the Mozart Concerto no. 3 for violin and orchestra in G Major. You will discover why we chose Ms. Hahn in our next publication. Enjoy the beauty of the sea weekend.
See you next Tuesday, with the ninth episode of “What´s up with water: Pouring water in your corporate strategy”. Thank you for reading to me.
Sources of Reference utilized to prepare the slides and the material above:
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, most of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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