Why Gestalt Enterprise Therapy™?
Because we are continually remaking and rediscovering
we encounter new horizons, new problems and new opportunities,
causing us to both reaffirm and question our Vision.
Businesses happen, Enterprises are planned.
Most entrepreneurs do not plan to be in business, it just
happens. It may be the result of a dream, or the result of
We may have dreamed about our abilities and how our ideas
will conquer the world. In fact, we were sure that we would
not have to conquer the world because the world would come
to us; or, we may have had nightmares as we faced the world
after experiencing disillusionment in the workplace, or having
been discarded as part of downsizing. We were frightened into
doing something with our lives, on our own – free from
the tyranny of a heartless boss. We were hoping to “do
business” with people who would appreciate us and our
skills, more than our old boss did.
It does not really matter how we got started. We suddenly
found ourselves in a situation that required all sorts of
skills that we did not necessarily have, or we did not realize
we would need. We had to be everything to everybody because
we had to do it all ourselves. We covered the full spectrum
from janitor to Chief Executive Officer. We became frustrated
because we were so busy trying to do the things we “had
to do” that we felt ineffective in doing the things
that we wanted to do in the first place. Eventually we hired
help, and we dumped the things we hated most upon the shoulders
of others. Rather than delegating authority and responsibility,
we abdicated them – don’t bother me, just do it.
We learned to hate our business
Being left to our own devices and discerning our apparent
disinterest in how things were done, our “key staff”
ignored or modified our policies, if we had any, or implemented
their own. And let’s not blame our staff; they had no
other choice or support. Or we went to the other extreme;
we delegated but never let go. Either extreme betrays a lack
And one morning we woke up and realized that our business
had stagnated or was falling apart. We found ourselves out
of touch with our staff, our customers, and reality; and the
thought crossed our mind, wouldn’t it be nice to have
Our dream had turned into a nightmare; or the nightmare that
we tried to escape was painfully replaced with another one
of our own making.
Money is no substitute for anything
Ask any struggling entrepreneur for the primary reason for
whatever seems to ail the business and lack of capital is
usually cited. While this is often a contributing factor it
is rarely the root cause. Lack of Vision, Leadership, and
Systems are the three primary reasons for faltering or stagnating
Vision, Leadership, and Systems are the responsibility of
the entrepreneur. Many think of themselves as entrepreneurs
(risk takers who build enterprises) but few act like them.
They did not start businesses that they planned to grow into
enterprises; rather, they created jobs suitable to their skills,
they became self-employed.
We must buy into our business
This does not mean that we must use our own money to fund
the business, although that is usually required of any start-up.
To buy into our business means that we must invest a good
portion of our life in it – we don’t just work
in it but we must also work at it.
The technical skills that we employed in the initial stages
of our business must eventually be hired. Employees must do
the work, if we are to grow. We, as the entrepreneurs, must
become the Chief Intellectual Officers or CIO (not to be confused
with the identical acronym for the Chief Information Officer).
This means that:
• we must retain our skills - not in order to do the
work but to establish and maintain quality standards;
• we must establish policies – and then delegate
and monitor their execution;
• we must establish systems that run our businesses
because that is the only way to attract and retain customers
– the lifeblood of a planned enterprise.
We Plan to Succeed or We Plan to Fail
If we do not plan our business in minute detail, if we fail
to establish adequate policies and systems, and if we do not
create a Business Plan that is plausible, against which we
can gauge our progress, we effectively plan to fail.
Where are you in your entrepreneurial development? It is
never too late to get started.
Becoming a Columbus
Many would-be entrepreneurs confuse Visions with Horizons.
Our Horizon is usually the outer limit of our comfort zone;
and our comfort zone has been created through the impact of
family, society, and even our own employees. It may have started
with a family member who instilled in us that “you’ll
never amount to anything.” Or it may be the “professionals”
in our businesses (accountants, programmers, etc.) who tell
us what we need and snicker at our “outrageous”
requests for information.
So how do we usually react? Intellectually, we cower into
submission and withdraw into our comfort zone, even though
we pay the bills. However, to succeed in business we must
think of our comfort zone as a straightjacket from which we
Our Vision must take us beyond our comfort zone, beyond our
Horizon and, like Columbus, we must believe that our Horizon
is not an edge where we fall off. It must become the first
hurdle on our way to building an enterprise.
Can we do it on our own? Many of us try. But remember even
doctors go to see other doctors when it comes to their own
health – and Columbus did not sail alone either. What
you need is the unbiased advice and support of a Catalytic
Catalytic mentoring reverses the all too common process where
professional staff or consultants mentor management –
although well-meaning, they often stifle whatever entrepreneurial
spirit we might have. Why? Because they themselves are not
entrepreneurs – they can’t comprehend the fire
that burns or used to burn in our belly.
A Catalytic Mentor recognizes the entrepreneur as the kingpin
of the business, as the captain of the ship “Enterprise.”
The captain is responsible to him/herself, the directors and
the shareholders/stakeholders (if any). The captain must know
the destination and set the course.
To fully understand the subtle yet profound difference, one
must realize that we tend to stoically follow a mentor’s
advice; but a Catalytic Mentor will encourage us to think
on our own and believe in ourselves, to dream wild dreams
and bring them to reality. A Catalytic Mentor triggers in
us a chain reaction that is controlled but unstoppable.
Systems Make or Break Us
The unfortunate reality is this: No enterprise can survive,
even with the best Vision and Leadership, if it does not have
Systems adequate to the task.
If we fail to combine our Vision and Leadership with an adequate
System, the enterprise will run our life when, in fact, our
System should run our enterprise.
Running a successful enterprise involves controls. Many entrepreneurs
operate under the mistaken notion that they have systems in
place because they have Operations and Policy Manuals. Unfortunately,
these Manuals are usually ignored as soon as they are compiled
and, as a result, it does not take long to move from the established
path. What is lacking are controls that assure the continued
compliance with “the system.”
All operations and policies can be quantified and guided
through computer systems; but we miss out when these systems
are not designed to also act as a compliance watchdog. What
Gestalt Enterprise Therapy advocates is a system that combines
information management with internal audit features that monitor
compliance with the policies and procedures that reflect the
Vision and the leadership of the entrepreneur.
Information should be your Growth Hormone
Many people think of information as historical or reference
data. They put more emphasis on data warehousing and less
importance on data mining. At least that seems to be the problem
with many packaged computer applications. A common lament
of concerned entrepreneurs is that they have no problem with
entering data but are not able to extract accurate reports,
which are meaningful to them.
Information can and must become a competitive advantage –
and that includes all of its components, including but not
limited to accounting.
Information, and the ability to obtain and digest it, is
the growth hormone of every entrepreneur with enterprise ambitions.
How we manage information and to which uses we put it will
spell our success or failure.
So how does STEP FORWARD fit into all of this?
Assume you are the captain of the ship Enterprise. It is state
of the art, fully equipped based on the latest technology
and you have hired a crew that is by all accounts utterly
competent. You have been given a mission to accomplish by
those who fund you, and you have established your strategic
vision as to how to achieve it.
You realize that you will be proceeding through waters that
are in some cases uncharted, or known only to others who act
as your Pilots, and you are not the only one out there. There
are other captains who have a similar mission and whose strategic
vision is not only to beat you to the sought after objective
but to also to sink you, their competition, if they can, unless
you self-destruct through sheer incompetence.
But that is not going to happen to you, is it? "Damn
the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Your crew is set to
do your bidding and they expect to get their instructions
from the bridge with an authoritative preamble, "now
hear this." At least, that was the concept.
The crew in the engine room is convinced that the captain
does not know what he is talking about; after all, did he
ever get his hands dirty with as much as an oilcan? The sonar
gives accurate readings but you have pilot who does not trust
this newfangled equipment; after all, he has been through
these waters since his youth and he can find the way and advise
the captain using his own means. And while each area of the
ship is computerized and stores up data in various databases,
it is almost impossible to correlate all the data because
no one had the foresight or took the time to provide for a
cohesive, enterprise-wide unification of the data.
So you begin taking corrective measures at sea. You fly in
gurus to pump up your crew; you establish training seminars
that will teach your crew to use and trust the latest technology
or to learn to measure performance; you establish projects
that will integrate disparate software; you talk of data warehouses,
intelligence and analytical applications, only to realize
that you are at the mercy of packaged software or your programmers
are so strung out with the latest and greatest improvements
that they are incapable or unwilling to respond to your immediate
needs for current and digestible information - if only you
could lay your hands on this massive data and do it yourself.
Can you relate to some of that in your enterprise?
The conundrum facing many enterprises today is how to improve
the capture and analysis of data in an efficient and meaningful
manner and its dissemination across the enterprise on a demand
basis, even if the demands change on short notice. Unfortunately
many enterprises have invested so much money in their information
systems, often in applications that they "just can't
do without," that any contemplated improvements often
take the form of just another band-aid on top of the old one.
Sometimes refuge is thought in spreadsheets upon spreadsheets
that re-hash data, with no absolute guarantee of accuracy.
This is false economy.
Some captains of enterprise address the problem by acquiring
packaged solutions, often upgrades from existing vendors.
These usually come with a pre-configured set of functionality
that is not easily adaptable, if at all. Consequently, one
has all the ingredients for the divergence of capabilities
and needs that sets in almost immediately because enterprise
is a dynamic being. This will eventually give rise to yet
another round of re-packaging.
Others address the problem in grand style by deciding on
a custom solution. If you fit into this class, you will hire
(on staff or contract) a team of experts ranging from system
analysts, to database programmers, to GUI designers, plus
a host of support staff. In the end you achieve exactly what
you always wanted, or will you?
Custom solutions can have their own functional restrictions,
may be incapable of addressing the dynamic changes in your
enterprise, and make you dependent (hostage may be too strong
a word) upon the people who developed your custom solution
in the first place.
So the nagging question is this: Is there no other option?
Until recently, No. However, there now is STEP FORWARD, a
user-definable information management development framework.
It’s a very graphical system that enables anyone to
configure a complex information system; it even allows you
to add your own code to handle proprietary features, if necessary.
With STEP FORWARD you can take a holistic view of the enterprise
and develop an enterprise-wide totally unified solution, addressing
accounting as well as general data needs. Its data mining
and reporting capabilities are superb, allowing all levels
of management to analyze, measure, and evaluate past performance
and evolve new business opportunities. In the words of one
corporate Controller, it is "limited only by the limitations
of my own imagination." But it is not just what it can
do but who can do it, because anyone who has a logical mind
can do it, even without formal programming skills.
So what is STEP FORWARD? Is it an Enterprise Resource Planning
(ERP) system? Is it a Data Warehouse? Is it a Business Intelligence
(BI) system? In the right hands, it can be all of these and
more. As a Unified Enterprise Solution (UES) it is a step
forward (if not a leap) from the Connected Enterprise Solutions
still advocated by many.
Concerned about the informational
health of your business?
Consider Gestalt Enterprise Therapy for your business.
You might even decide to take a STEP FORWARD.
Engaging a Catalytic Mentor
It’s easy. Simply contact
us. The professional fees charged for a Catalytic Mentor are
negotiated on a project by project basis. Use of STEP FORWARD
is not a foregone conclusion. However, if the use of STEP
FORWARD will benefit you, you will be given the opportunity
to make that choice.