When  senior executives throw up their hands in despair at the prospect of successfully managing the external environment; when shareholders worry that their investment might be under-protected because the professional managers in their  company  appear not to be managing: what should they do?  Many executives shake their heads, intimidated or confused by what appears to be the unfamiliar and complex.  Successfully managing the  external environment – government relations,  relations with relevant NGOs, the media and other important components in that  mix of sectors usually  not within the typical comfort zone of control of corporate executives  –  is crucial to the success of many companies. If you get it wrong it can put you out of business.  You can list the obvious business sectors that have a real interest: pharmaceuticals, oil, tobacco, liquor and (topical nowadays), finance. But what  about  food, science & technology and  information technology?  The list is really much longer.

The ‘do-nothing-until-we-really-have-to’  approach can have devastating consequences on your business and shareholder value. But where and how  does one begin to understand the process and learn how to read the map?  Following a clear and simple process is  critical. It can make an apparently complicated  way forward reassuringly straightforward.

Step one is to have very clear objectives, that is uncomplicated  business objectives.  And then the rest follows.


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