Less Bluster, More Cluster

You're not alone … and shouldn't be. Going it alone exposes one to vulnerabilities, risk and “attack” from all angles.


Genuine, mutually beneficial collaborations and alliances have been elevated to the status of being competitive and comparative imperatives.


There is increasing and encouraging evidence of businesses, networks, communities and sectors winning business and market share as a consequence of implementing disciplined, collaborative and integrated business development and competitive initiatives.


Collective efforts and endeavours contribute to attaining, maintaining and benefiting from critical mass and momentum. The latter attributes distinguish those who are gaining marketplace traction from those who are losing traction, sales, customers and marketplace presence.


The compelling bottom-line for manufacturers, suppliers, associations and contributing stakeholders in dealing with a uniform, cohesive supply chain is PRODUCTIVITY.


In the challenging, if not straitened early months of 2014, the underlying philosophy of the “dark art of economics” – the allocation of scarce resources – is coming to the fore. Limited resources are being applied to where entities will enjoy and be rewarded by “getting the biggest bang for the buck”.


Striving for and achieving optimal leverage are understandably determining strategic and tactical decisions.


Servicing, contributing to and working with cohesive networks are appreciably more attractive, less labour-intensive and less expensive than endeavours to provide one-on-one inputs for a diverse range of small independent operations. A relatively small loss of independence for individuals in favour of the greater good for all is a marginal cost to bear.





Regional and remote communities throughout Australia and New Zealand are fast recognising the benefits and advantages of the “clustering” (read: concentration) of entities, products, services and applications.


Organisation hierarchies and strategic alliances between professionals and consultants are being restructured.


Greater impact, resonance, relevance, quality and performance standards are being enjoyed by all.


The town of Kununurra, in the far-north-west Kimberley region of Australia, home of the largest diamond fields in the world, the massive Ord River Diversion Dam and centre of countless tailored agricultural initiatives and innovations, is finding new directions, opportunities and scope for its local businesses, entrepreneurs and people. The individual and collective energy and excitement are palpable.


It is early days, but the prospects are being recognised, analysed and developed. Increased visibility in the marketplace as an attractive destination for tourists, businesses, entrepreneurs and capital is resulting in enhanced activities.


Bringing people, concepts and energies together is being completed with the setting of standards and securing commitments to adhere to them.





Inevitably some don't and won't make the grade.


Attrition is an integral element of history, evolution, life and business. Exit and succession strategies are virtues in life – and in business plans.


Evidence of Charles Darwin's “Food Chain” principles will be strikingly apparent during the course of 2014.


In short, some businesses will fold or “die”.


Therefore, those who choose to “cluster”, collaborate and integrate will need to establish minimum and, in many instances, “stretch” standards to remain competitive, relevant and sustainable.


There is little benefit, advantage and joy derived from the tendency for things to gravitate to the lowest common denominator. The name of the game will not be numbers alone. Domination, - by leadership, discipline, creativity and innovation - is a far more compelling goal.


Overall, business failures and closures will be a conspicuous reality. They can be minimised by the conduct of objective, detached and timely strategic reviews. Selling businesses will be one option, to avoid the undesirable demise of some entities and outlets. It could and will be encouraged and facilitated by and among those in differing supply chains.


Some egos will be brutalised. However, it will be a case of ...‘e goes or we all go … down the gurgler'. That will be a cold, stark fact of life …, which, on reflection, will be fair to all concerned.








For many business owners and managers around the world trading conditions are being classified as “hard”. Consequently, there are few or no “soft” decisions or options available for those who seek to remain competitive, viable and sustainable.


The best timing for the making and implementing of hard decisions is NOW.


Winners do and will recognise the importance of creating a sense of urgency, being focused, tolerating risk, establishing momentum, maintaining standards and forming collaborations and allegiances, while not accepting complacency, indifference, lack of commitment and sub-optimal performance standards. In short, “less bluster, more cluster”.