Friday, August 16, 2019

Measuring Enterprises' Capacity for Change

Change is difficult.  The default mode of most organizations and people is to resist change.  It's like a helmsman who steers a ship straight into an iceberg because he doesn't want to rock the boat.

Agile businesses, however, that can redirect energy to fast and positive change and transformation can exploit many more opportunities than enterprises mired in resistance.  The challenge for leaders today is to create an organization that is not only prepared and willing to change, but that also has enough energy and resources to succeed.

One of the rules of the First Law of Thermodynamics in physics is, "Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed.”  I propose there is an application of this rule in business as well.  If energy is being consumed on resisting changes to your business, then it is not available for making positive changes to your business.

If markets are changing due to economic conditions, competition, technological innovations or rapidly changing customer behaviors and preferences, then companies must be able to quickly redirect their energy to implementing positive change in order to win.

Change consumes energy, and energy is finite.  That means in order to make changes to keep up with a rapidly changing market, energy must be conserved and stock piled so it is available.  Expending scarce energy resisting intelligent change is a huge waste.  Making investments and taking your business down a path that cannot quickly be undone if the market moves a new direction is also a big waste.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Adapting Our Minds to Perpetual Change

Customers' expectations continue to grow. They want instant, convenient, personalized, customized, predicted, recommended, rewarded and private. They want their own curated lifestyle mirrored back to them. They want control. They want mobile and fast. They desire digital experiences that are simple, consistent, beautiful and elegant. They want massive quantities of information – but in bite size quantities. They want to manage their lives from a smart phone anywhere at any time. The want to work from a coffee shop and be 100% productive.

Most of the world has already embraced the digital revolution. Our lives and behaviors are changing. The way we think and act are evolving as we integrate digital tools into our habits and processes. We constantly reach for our second brains (i.e. Wikipedia, search engines, apps) to access all of the information needed to both survive and thrive in the digital age. Our memories have been altered. We remember how to find information, rather than knowing the information itself.

These changes are rapidly impacting marketplaces, industries and even global economies. We use our smartphones for everything from meeting romantic partners, finding jobs, investing our money, ordering food, finding a ride, remembering to breathe, paying the water bill, monitoring our health, analyzing our DNA and even finding and buying our homes.

John Boyd, a renowned military strategist, taught that life is a process of adaptation, and that winners/survivors will find ways to exploit change and to adapt to it in order to survive and win. He taught that adapting and winning requires three things:
  1. People - must be trained to think, and act in ways conducive to winning in their environment
  2. Ideas - learn ideas (doctrines, strategies and tactics) conducive to winning in their environment
  3. Things - utilize the best technologies, equipment, materials, design, etc. available to exploit change and win