The essence of timing, improvisation and exiting the realm of reason
Leading innovation in organizations calls for changing strategies (objectives, business models), structures (processes, systems, hierarchies and ways of working) and cultures (behaviours, attitudes and organizational norms). Some attempts at deep transformational change succeed (IBM and Whirlpool are well documented) and many fail (Kodak and Borders books come to mind). The failures are often because of bad timing, skillsets that cannot cope with the unknown and an unreasonable imprisonment within the realm of reason. Here are three tips to overcome these challenges.
Tip #1: Set the pace and stick to it
Timing is always of the essence when change is effected in organizations. Keeping a lookout on what is going on out there and reasoned judgment on what new things are on the way are vital for strategic planning. Changes in the business context are of course beyond any single company’s control.
To forge a new strategy and gain competitive advantage in a new business context, especially one that is greatly affected by digitalization and new technology in its many forms, established companies must also transform themselves internally. This might mean extensive firing and/or hiring, redeployment, new jobs with new work content, new chains of command and changing the content and form of communication with clients and colleagues. Change is always disruptive in that, for a period, the organization will be working both in the old way and the new way. In the process not all people will be equally happy because people have different rates of resisting, accepting or adopting change. Crisis management nearly always requires more directive leadership (and less time to discuss) whilst anticipative strategies can be more participatory. In any case setting a pace for the new way to completely replace the old way is essential and, in general, fast is better than slow.
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