To survive -- let alone win -- in the 21st century, individuals and organizations must be able to change internally faster and more dynamically than the speed and magnitude of external change. This new and powerful law in today’s age of disruption is ever-present and always in play.
Whether we are talking about being caught flat-footed on melting ice in the natural environment, or having an inability to respond to intense global competition in your industry, the inability to pivot and change quickly means extinction.
As entrepreneurs, the nature of our work requires accelerating through a series of growth challenges and clear phases. Moving from ideation, to start-up, to a sustainable enterprise is fraught with one change piled on top of another. This is true for individuals, teams and organization. Add to that the inherent challenges entrepreneurs face in this incredibly disruptive and global world in which we live, and the level of difficulty multiplies exponentially.
The challenge of change comes at entrepreneurs in different shapes, sizes and complexity. Sizing and scoping the level of change response needed is crucial.
Examine your pockets. Can you find any change? Maybe you have pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters? Perhaps you have a mix of these. Unless you know what kind of change you are dealing with, there is a good chance you might mishandle it.
In our work with clients around the globe, we have found that appropriate individual or organizations responses to external changes can be categorized into three degrees -- Refinement, Renovation and Reinvention.
Degree 1: Refinement.
Consistently advancing your ability to get results. Upgrading processes, systems, knowledge and skills in hopes of continuous improvement.
Degree 2: Renovation.
Performing a refresh in order to make meaningful leaps in performance. Not ready for a complete overhaul, but feeling a need to target several areas that are holding you back.
Degree 3: Reinvention.
Rethinking your business and how to compete, perform and drive results. Nothing is off the table -- not even strategy, culture, product portfolios, brand image and sacred cows.
Reinvention is third degree change. As I mentioned before, absolutely everything is on the table for discussion. Choosing whether it is time to take on major reinvention or simply launch into degree 1 or 2 change strategies is a crucial skill.
As an entrepreneur either in a one-person outfit or someone leading a much larger organization, have you considered what degree of change should you engage in throughout 2016? One thing is certain -- you should always be engaged in change to some degree. As we stated up front, the outside environment is spinning quickly, and the level of change happening within the organization must be at least as fast.
The following criteria can help you evaluate the degree of change needed both individually and organizationally. For each criterion, simply ask yourself, "To what degree am I satisfied with performance in this area:”
Organizational reinvention criteria.
- Revenue growth
- Competitive position
- Customer satisfaction
- Cultural vibrancy
- Technology agility
- Employee engagement
- Learning agility
Individual reinvention criteria.
- Career satisfaction
- Skill proficiency
- Intellectual stimulation
- Financial health
- Career mobility
- Job security
- Technology agility
Individuals and organizations that discover how to leverage disruption and accelerate results will be the exceptional leaders and market champions of the 21st century.
It is difficult to predict with total accuracy when or how the next global shockwave will hit, or when the next quantum change will enter your particular field. But one thing is certain -- shockwaves, both global and local, are on their way. Most are already locked and loaded, and more are coming with a different flavor than we’ve been used to -- geopolitical uproars, climate disturbances, or inventions coming out of garages that will quickly upend your business model.
Don’t be left isolated in the breakdown lane on the global highway watching competition pass you by at superior speeds because they were better equipped than you. Learn to be a master craftsman of reinvention, both individually and organizationally.
How prepared will you be the next time a global shockwave arrives at your doorstep?