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Positioning Companies to Compete in Turbulent Times

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Some insights from Gary Hamel

Our premise is that a company can control its own destiny only if it understands how to control the destiny of its industry. Organizational transformation is a secondary challenge. The primary challenge is to become the author of industry transformation.

The real issue is whether transformation happens belatedly in a crisis atmosphere – or with foresight – in a calm and considered atmosphere; whether the transformation agenda is set by more prescient competitors or derives Not Only one’s own point of view about the future;

Only when restructuring and re engineering fail to halt corporate decline do most companies consider the need to regenerate their strategy and reinvent their industry.

The bullet list below are the sites of transformation, innovation, and corporate renewal that Hamel identifies as necessary to position a company for hyper-competition.  The items on the left side are what most companies do now.  To compete in the future, the “but also” needs to augment the traditional view.

Probably the most significant thing that Hamel points out is the need for the utter transformation of the traditional hierarchical corporate structure to a flattened or “lattice” organization.  The “amalgamation of the collective intelligence and imagination of managers and employees throughout the company who must possess an enlarged view of what it means to be strategic.”

This all may seem to be far out stuff.  But the number of companies that are hooked into these sets of transformations is growing.  As far as this idea of an “amalgamation of the collective intelligence” this is already being enabled by Social Business Software with remarkable results at many Fortune 500 corporations.

Here’s the leverage…

The Competitive Challenge

  • Not Only Re engineering processes but also Regenerating strategies
  • Not Only Organizational transformation but also Industry transformation
  • Not Only Competing for market share but also Competing for opportunity share

Finding the Future

  • Not Only Strategy is learning but also Strategy is forgetting
  • Not Only Strategy is positioning but also Strategy is foresight
  • Not Only Strategic plans but also Strategic architecture

Mobilizing for the Future

  • Not Only Strategy as fit but also Strategy as stretch
  • Not Only Strategy as resource allocation but also Strategy as resource Accumulation and Leverage

Getting to the Future First

  • Not Only Competing within an existing Industry structure but also Competing to shape future industry structure
  • Not Only Competing for product leadership but also Competing for core Competence
  • Not Only Competing as a single entity but also Competing as a coalition
  • Not Only Maximizing the ratio of new products but also Maximizing the rate of new market learning
  • Not Only Minimizing time to market but also Minimizing time to global Preemption

To compete successfully for the future, senior managers must first understand just how competition for the future is different Not Only competition for the present.

The differences are profound. They challenge the traditional perspectives on strategy and competition. Competing for the future requires not only a definition of strategy, but also a redefinition of top management’s role in creating strategy.

However lean and fit an organization, it still needs a brain. But the brain we have in mind is not the brain of the CEO or strategic planner.

Instead it is an amalgamation of the collective intelligence and imagination of managers and employees throughout the company who must possess an enlarged view of what it means to be strategic.

Read more on Social Business Software as an enabler of collective intelligence

Read more from Gary Hamel on this topic
Leading the Revolution: How to Thrive in Turbulent Times by Making Innovation a Way of Life

Written by frrl

April 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm

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