Successfully managing business change can sometimes seem as unattainable as managing a teenager, says Sue Todd, Chief Strategy Officer for CorpU. As with your teenage son or daughter, you can try to teach, or lead by example; find out who’s influencing behavior; adapt to the unexpected; and keep an open mind. But good luck feeling like you’re actually in control.
Back when the world moved more slowly, says Todd, we had at least the illusion of managing change. We thought of it as a single event, a set of activities that would inevitably lead us from the old way of doing things to a new way. Our change initiatives could follow the formula established by the respected leadership/change authority John Kotter: increase urgency, build a guiding team, set the vision, and so on.
But the speed at which business is moving has swept all that away. Consider:
- Business guru Henry Mintzberg says companies will not necessarily set themselves apart by their ability to see how markets are moving, but by how fast they carry out the necessary strategic response.
- Tigress Financial Partners analyst Ivan Feinseth comments that even though Coca-Cola beat revenue and earnings targets, the senior team isn’t moving fast enough to pursue growth in market segments beyond carbonated beverages.
- Motivational speaker Vince Poscente says in The Age of Speed that we’re now placing “an ever-increasing demand for speed on others.”
- Research reveals that the number of scientific papers published has been doubling every 13 years. Some of these thousands of new ideas will impact how you do business.