HOW DO COMPANIES KEEP UP WITH STRATEGIC CHANGE?

The megatrends are forcing many companies to transform their business models more or less completely. In most industries the pace and intensity of the change will be unforeseen. The companies need to find out how to create and implement the strategy in very fast and iterative manner.

The world is moving forward extremely fast, but the companies are waking up rather slowly. An average company has a strategy process which is carried through once a year by the executives. Some of these companies work hardly on strategy implementation. Even so, all of the companies may not have strong practice for managing the strategic change.

Many companies are still seeking efficient methods to manage the traditional top-down change processes

Change management methodology is developing all the time. A basic approach for traditional top-down change process is described by many authors, for example ADKAR by Jeffrey M. Hiatt. Commercial solutions, tools and consulting for change planning are also available. Despite of that, the traditional change management practices are still under construction in many companies.

Now the business world is moving fast to the next, more challenging phase: Transformations.

According to Ron Ashkenas the overall goal of the transformation is reinventing the organisation and it’s business model, based on a vision for the future. The nature of the change is unpredictable, iterative and experimental.

I think that the strategy is improved and implemented during the transformation process. The whole mindset for strategy creation will be changed – yet the emerging change isn’t a novel idea. For example Mintzberg & al. have described emergent strategy processes in their book Strategy Safari (1998). Kim & Mauborgne have also some very interesting ideas in Blue Ocean Strategy (2005).

Unlike the traditional, well defined top-down change, the strategic transformation is far more difficult to lead. It requires completely shared inspiration, engagement and co-creation. The approach is more bottom-up than top-down. How many of us knows a comprehensive methodology and toolbox for leading this kind of change?

We have to learn new, agile methods in order to lead the transformations. I believe the new approaches comes from LEAN and agile methods. I have just read an inspiring book about LEAN Change Management by Jason Little (2014). My guess for the next step will be traditional, well known change methods combined with new agile, inspirational methods. What do you think?

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References:

  • Jeffrey M. Hiatt (2006): ADKAR. A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community.
  • Ron Ashkenas (2015) : We Still Don’t Know the Difference Between Change and Transformation.
  • Jason Little (2014): Lean Change Management.
  • Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand & Joseph Lampel (1998): Strategy Safari
  • W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne (2005): Blue Ocean Strategy.

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