Well, really there isn’t much of a choice. Is it?
There are of course dozens of books and theories written on the subject and more will be. I want to take an over-simplified look at this. In my mind 300-page theories on change and adaptability are just that – theories. From my experience of very closely observing human behavior, I want to show the mirror to an organisation’s ability to change and its adaptability to it, in a few lines.
In my mind, if looked at solely from the point of view of adapting, slowing down of an organisation’s growth happens for two reasons.
#1 – Failure to anticipate the changes that will occur and more importantly
#2 – Failure to adapt to the changes that occur or are occurring.
Yes economies slow down and businesses do too. But not every business does. Some are agile enough to think, innovate and adapt. Others adapt too, though just not in time. They take a long time to accept or embrace the new, mostly because they take forever to let go off the old. Letting go of the old is more, much more critical to the process of change than embracing the new. The latter will almost always happen automatically.
Organisations take a long time to accept or embrace the new, mostly because they take forever to let go off the old.
There is ONE variable, just one to creating a fast and adaptable organization. This one variable is
THE answer and has been THE answer for centuries. It is the only one that you have to deal with. It is no surprise.
Adaptability, Embracing change and MOST Importantly creating and leading change is 100% a function of people. How people are got on board, developed and appreciated, or not, will determine the organisation’s adaptability and its success.
Contrary to what you may think, neither the economy nor the industry dynamics of your market determines long term success. How people anticipate and adapt to these factors determine success.
So here’s my list. Anticipative and Adaptive (Successful) organisations have people and teams which,
- Are hired for attitude, character and teamwork (proven) much more than any skill, CV or mark sheet.
- Are visibly appreciated.
Adaptability is 100% a function of people.
- Are treated with respect and dignity. HINT:They are not crucified in review meetings, they are supported.
- Are in the know of almost everything. HINT:‘Need to know basis is old pseudo management. Common Sense – Transparency and Availability of Information is obviously a MUST if you have to anticipate and adapt to the coming change!!.
- Are developed, and developed again, and again, and again to the power of infinity. HINT-You can never spend enough time or money on training. If you think otherwise, read no further for figuring the reason for your slowdown.
- Realise the power of NO (Don’t > DO). Stop doing certain things is much bigger than start doing new things.
- Realise the power of YES. Are willing to DO almost anything. That is giving it a shot! – HINT –BUT that will ONLY happen if failures are appreciated. Think. Think. Otherwise why will I?
- Learn new things everyday because that’s the primary job. Period.
- Believe that everyone, every insider and every outsider has something to teach us. HINT –Almost every person in your organization, including you is resistant to new learning without suspicion.
- Are exposed to (as often as possible, perhaps everyday) to a wide variety of people who will offer radical and opposite views to the norm and convention. HINT:If the norm and convention worked, there wouldn’t be change needed ever.
- Are given the freedom (with accountability) to try almost anything instantly and repeatedly. HINT:Reward good and useful failures. Punish mediocre successes.
- Are different, diverse, from every imaginable background… A few, a handful in our country truly practiced diversification by choice. Try it. It will shock you with its ROI.
Reward good and useful failures. Punish mediocre successes.
- Are self-accountable. They treat everyone as indispensable. No threats. No non-players either. Everyone plays because failure is okay.
- Pursue Breakthroughs and Innovation (the real ones, not some bottom-line focused short-term gains) every day because that’s the fun and that’s the way my job was told to me.
- Operate in a flat, non-bureaucratic, least hierarchical structure.
- Are honest. BIG HINT:People lie (and then politics and corruption begins) because you have attached such a stigma to failure and mistakes. Grow Up.
People lie (and then politics and corruption begins) because you have attached such a stigma to failure and mistakes. Grow Up.
And there it is.
- Oh! One more….. all of this obviously requires ‘leadership’ that understands the people more than the business(business anyways slows down so didn’t help to understand it, did it????)
The Truth Remains – if you and your people and the teams embraces the above practices – anticipation and adaptability will be so automatic that you wouldn’t find yourself even using these words again.(obviously I am exaggerating but you get the point!)
An honest submission– This is so not a new idea. I wish I invented it but I didn’t. However it’s practice is so rare, that the few who practice this are being researched by everyone else. And that ‘everyone else’ is busy publishing ‘theories on change or some BS like that’….. While all you need is Simplistic Common Sense.
And here it is one more time….. Just in case I lost you…
Yes a BIG BURLY VISON is needed.
Yes a Chanakya Strategy is great.
Yes Values are critical.
And Yes processes are a necessity.
BUT hey Einstein! In the end it IS and ALWAYS has been all about THE PEOPLE.