Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FOCUS ON THE NEW WAY OF WORKING


Last week I attended a webinar with Gary Hamel. He mentioned the following challenges, which trigger the need for management innovation:

  1. Accelerating change
  2. Intensifying competition
  3. Diminishing differentiation
  4. Growing mistrust

I would like to add these observations:

  1. Increasing globalization
  2. Standardizing social media
  3. Integrating technology
  4. Collaboration between generations

Let’s have a quick look into each of them.

Ad 1. You could say that this is an open door. However we still have not learned to cope with change in an effective and efficient way. Many researches indicate that most change efforts do not bring the required results. Especially when it concerns personal change. Leaders and managers still do think that they are doing fine and that only the employees need to change.

Ad 2. The marketplace is becoming more and more crowded. And it will even become more crowded as many unemployed cannot find jobs and start their own business. Also the demographic growth means that there are more players , playing the same game. Blue ocean strategies are still an exception and this relates to the first point; we really are not good at structurally changing ourselves.

Ad 3. In the recent book Different by Youngme Moon she clearly shows that the practice of adding extra features to your product, will only have a very short (if any) lifetime. There is just too much choice and no real differences between most products.

Ad 4. Trust is one of the key factors for having an innovative culture. So, the increasing level of mistrust means that employees will not stick out their necks and they will keep radical ideas for themselves. I do think that the huge gap between pay (and bonus) levels is only stimulating this mistrust.

Ad 5. Through the air transport system as well as the communication system, the world has become one big village, with only a few hours time difference. This means that customers, competitors, employees and suppliers can and will be located just about anywhere in the world. Out of the traditional marketing P’s, the P of Place has a total different meaning now. At the same time we have to be aware of cultural and linguistic differences. Most of the time they are underestimated.

Ad 6. (Social) Media has fundamentally changed the communication landscape. This is no longer a fad, but a fact. Peer to peer communications has replaced the influence of top down communications. The customer has finally the means to be a king. Information has become instantly available to everyone. The dependence on old media has gone.

Ad 7. Convergence of data, voice, internet and video is now the reality with the availability of smart phones. Also look at the integration of computer technology in cars and other devices. Finally ICT has become the means to support work rather than the goal itself. We now should start to think how we want to work and how ICT can support that, rather than the other way around. E.g. ERP systems have dominated our way of working, but now we should turn that upside down: how do we want to work and how do systems support this.

Ad 7. In a short time there will be more Millenials in the workforce than Baby Boomers. Also there will be more than three generations working at the same time. Their wants and needs differ substantially, so we need to cater for that and no longer apply a ‘one size fits all ‘ flavor to it. Gary Hamel said that in the past obedience, diligence and intellect were important. But now there is a need for passion, creativity and initiative. The 2010 CEO study by IBM also highlights this urgent need for creativity. It is one thing to identify the need, but how to deal with it is another. It means that we structurally have to redesign our education and training systems.


If you have carefully digested (and please take the time to do this) these challenges, you can only come to the conclusion that you have to radically reconsider and redesign your business. And this is not something that can wait, NO the urgency is now. Also this is not only a task for you marketing or strategy guys, it should encompass all functions and all levels ( see the AQAL model from Ken Wilber). So, it is good that you are refreshed from your holidays and that you can start with this eminent task with an open mind.


GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!