Pushing Your Organization Hard To Adapt To The Changing World

By Uju Onwuzulike Chief Results Officer, MCL

“The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow”....Rupert Murdoch

Before now, organizations may afford to do things their own way and in their own time. It was also incredible seeing some of these organizations back then thinking they were fully in charge of events and situations in and around their industry (they were literally saying in their minds-no cause for alarm, we are in control). Because of their ‘perceived’ size, strength and positioning, these organizations find themselves too ‘big to fail’ and alas start breathing the ‘air of invincibility’.

The hard truth is that with the rate of change and disruptions in the business world of today, it is not advisable for any organization to still have the ‘air of invincibility’ or ‘too big to fail’ mentality? It is not safe for organizations to think that they are invulnerable to failure or losing marketplace positioning. Whenever I share with leaders and participants in our Leading Strategic Change and Innovation program, I always let them know that Change is a shift in the external world and not from the internal. If those shifts in the external world are not managed strategically in the best interest of the organization, there might be a looming danger. A general case for all organizations is that change happens to all of them. But the speed of adapting to the change differs from one organization to the other. This is why Rupert Murdoch quote used above is highly relevant in our today’s world.

Interestingly, it is no more a question of whether an organization wants to push itself hard or not in adapting to the changing world, now it is a must do. Like we have all known in the time past that some things in life are inevitable and are bound to happen, so also is disruption in our organizations. So, one message I want to drive home in this insight is that ‘disruption is inevitable in our organizations’. It has come to stay. In the recent times, one of my favourites quote is the one from Budi Sadikin (the CEO of Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri), he said “we have to keep disrupting ourselves; otherwise we will be disrupted by somebody else”. With my experience working with CEOs and business leaders across various industries, I have found out that some business leaders’ major problem is that they allowed disruptions to catch up with them and eventually overtake them. They were simply not ahead of the game.

I was in a forum the other day, and the speaker said something that got me thinking. She mentioned about three global and formally respected companies that failed and said “these companies are now used as case studies”. Remember I said initially that no company or organization is too big to fail. Funny enough, you might even be No.1 currently in your industry that does not guarantee longevity if changes from the outside exceed the internal or inside changes in that particular organization. Individually, we know such companies and we also use them to cite examples, but then, the only way we will be different and better than those failed companies is when we run fast with the changing world.

Final note: To succeed in these difficult times will require leaders of organization to push hard and run fast. Like Budi Sadikin said, let the disruption start internally for organizations, that will help them prepare and get ready for the changing world as opposed to allowing disruptions to jump on them from the outside. No matter how big an organization might be, an outside and unforeseen disruption might mean the end of business for some and to others making them irrelevant. Since the changing world has come, pushing hard to adapt to that changing world is non-negotiable. Always remember that what brought success to your organization yesterday might not be relevant again today – so we need to move from “this is how it has worked to “how can it work today” in the midst of uncertainties? Finally, the business world of today has become so funny and interesting that small companies that are fast are beating big companies that are slow.

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