The times they are a changing. The great American songwriter Bob Dylan is no business analyst, but his iconic song The Times They Are A-Changin’ has something very pertinent to say about the economy and the global landscapes we live in.
As businesses our goal is to make our organisations resilient to change, the idea being to weather the ups and downs of the market and geopolitical conditions to achieve long-term profitability and growth. In this view of the world, changes are seen as exterior events, things that happen to a business outside of the normal run of affairs. This risks taking a negative view of change: Change is something to be mitigated against, avoided or at best, managed.
Is there a different way to view change, and is there a different way for a business to approach how it reacts to change? Do we need a different type of leadership?, even new organisational designs? The answer my friend is, Yes. And it begins with the recognition that change is the norm, not the exception and requires new forms of adaptiveness.
Managers in organisations seeking adaptability need to know:
- How to define a business strategy that has the flexibility to adjust to changing markets and competitive disruption.
- How to create business designs that adjust continually without incurring the massive overheads of constant reorganisations.
- How to create management systems that allow management and staff at all levels to explore new niches and exploit competitive weaknesses to create differentiation and long-term profitability, while engaging the willing contribution of staff and managers.
Leadership is the art of possibility in the face of reality.
- How you choose to compete will determine your level of agility and adaptability and overall response to change.
- Your work-climate (the combined thinking, feelings and perceptions of staff, managers and leaders) will indicate how adaptive your business really is.
- Seeing purpose from a different perspective
If you want to compete, you have no choice but to respond. If you want to succeed, you need to know how to adapt.