The ability to cope with rapid change requires the ability to think and act strategically but also differently and unconventionally. Leaders must be able to challenge old ways of thinking and doing, old paradigms and also to approach strategy in a non-conventional manner. It requires being open to the future, to see the big picture, to have vision and confidence and a high risk tolerance, and the courage to take a leadership stand. It also requires an insatiable curiosity, the ability to disturb the status quo, the willingness and courage to challenge the existing wisdom, the prevailing assumption base and to turn it on its head. This is the pathway through paradox, the way of building a new future, while maintaining the best of the present. This is what Charles Handy (The empty raincoat. Making sense of the future : 1995) calls second curve thinking. While the world around us keeps changing, it is one of the paradoxes of success that the things and ways which got us where we are, are seldom the things that keep us there. This applies to personal, as well as organisational and industry achievement.
COMPETITION FOR THE FUTURE …
is competition to create and dominate emerging opportunities – to stake out new competitive space. Creating the future is more challenging than playing catch-up, in that you have to create your own road map. The goal is not simply to benchmark a competitor’s products and processes and imitate their methods, but to develop an independent point of view about tomorrow’s opportunities and how to exploit them. Path-breaking is a lot more rewarding than benchmarking. Organisations don’t get to the future first by letting someone else blaze the trail.
Top management’s primary task is reinventing industries and regenerating strategy, not re-engineering processes. The challenge to leadership is to stop the unrewarding and ultimately dead-end process of downsizing, and FIRSTLY to enter the dynamic realm of STRATEGY REGENERATION; to develop the INDUSTRY FORESIGHT necessary to proactively shape industry evolution; to develop a truly stretching strategic intent and mobilise the entire organisation in its pursuit.Then SECONDLY to get the leadership reinvented, and THIRDLY to get the company reinvented, and off the restructuring and re-engineering treadmill and onto the elusive path of corporate and industry transformation.
The organisational reinvention programme developed by BMI-SCU is a paradigm shift in strategic leadership. It requires that substantial time be invested in understanding the difference between change and transformation. It is also designed around the fundamental belief that strategy, and the way we act, is filtered through the prevailing universal human paradigms of the management team. These paradigms that each executive holds, create the box (red box equals old tools, and blue box equals transformation and reinvention) within which he or she operates and within which he or she leads the organisation (division, department, function). This executive (universal human) paradigm is the filter through which they see the world. As is the nature of all paradigms, it is invisible but ubiquitous and powerful. Substantial time must be devoted to uncover these paradigms, to recognise them in order to understand when and how they operate and how they limit potential and inhibit breakthrough thinking. Paradigms are powerful inhibitors of change, that determine the individual leadership and the organisational reality of what is possible or not possible and which keeps the leadership and the organisation stuck in its past failures and successes. It has to do with a fundamental shift from doing (smaller, better, more), to being, which has to do with creating a different future which does not exist in the current reality.