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Why Gestalt Enterprise Therapy™?

Because we are continually remaking and rediscovering ourselves,
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 a nightmare.

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 of leadership.

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 a boss.

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 businesses.

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 effectively;
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 must escape.

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 Mentor.

Catalytic Mentoring
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.

Step Forward will benefit you
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