1. CHANGE CHRONICLE
“No man steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”
― Heraclitus 500 BC
Change is a fact of life. We change as we age. This is a continuous change.
Product profile changes, so does an organization as it grows or shrinks.
For a business organizations change is an opportunity as well as a threat.
In business, change can be forced by external factors such as technology or internal factors such
as customer behavior.
A change may be along a projectile (continuous), discontinuous or even disruptive.
Market is a place where buyers and sellers meet to trade products/services.
When there are many sellers compared to buyers the competition is tough (Red Ocean)
Ability to attract customers with distinct product features is competitive advantage.
Strategy is about being different, being able to attract customers.
We now live in an age of discontinuity.
Discontinuous changes are changes having no regard for the past.
Frequent discontinuous changes (from wired to wireless) are the norms of the world today.
These changes can disrupt business. A newcomer may arise from nowhere as much as an
established icon loses ground (Fortune loses 25% members every decade).
Planning, one of the key management functions, has become a weak management tool.
Long term planning is ineffective as changes happen fast and in a discontinuous manner.
Strategic Plan is the new format plan.
Strategic Planning is about long term planning in discontinuity.
A strategic plan begins with a vision.
Vision is the long term destination of an organization. If an organization is compared to a ship,
the leader is the driver. Vision is the North Star.
Though still a plan a strategic plan has a difference.
It may change or even be discarded as per external dictates.
Strategic changes are leadership interventions.
Change was not a problem in earlier days when everything moved in predictable fashion
even as the industrial age matured into mass production in the early twentieth century
Everything was incremental and more less predictable….until the second half of twentieth
All hell broke loose as Japan rose as an industrial power
This oil shock of the seventies was another discontinuity that turned older presumptions upside
It no good being better, you have to be different – Charles Handy
2. As Japan got stronger by the day the term Excellence was reinvented
Business was reconfigured with the human (labour) overtaking machines in asset value
The 7s model: strategy, structure, system and staff, style, shared values, skills redefined
excellence in terms of softer elements
Deregulation was the next mould breaker.
The public sector became a casualty as private sector roared.
A natural extension was the scathing of socialism and welfare concepts.
Reagan and Thatcher rose strengthened by Friedman’s belligerence and the world turned upside
Long term planning was declared dead and Russia fell
Technology was the new wonder kid round the bloc, in particular Computer
But the euphoria about the information age got dented with the dot com burst
India and china rose – partly on global changes in trading practices and some luck
The world turned flat
Services topped production as value creator – production was redefined as operations to make
space for services
In our search for quality and excellence standard setting became an obsession
The world moved from the age of mass product to mass differentiation
The GDP of the planet increased manifold but the disparity between and within nations became
the bane though in nominal terms everyone was better off
The paperless transactions and plastic money created a new kind of disease called headless
The western world gradually started to show the signs of blood. Only if Charles Dickens could be
Outsourcing became the bane of the west as Samsung rose and many more in the far east.
History is a cruel chronicler. Unless you pay attention, the cycle will repeat
Search for excellence took a new turn with the likes of Tom Peters crying re-imagination
What is the holy grail of success, being able to stay put on an achieved position?
How the mighty falls?
We have now become more inward looking turning back on the basics – ethics, values, empathy.
After much blood loss the world has almost got back on the saddle.
GM has recovered, so has Ford – but how long? Can Toyota get back to its orginal glory?
What about Sony, Yahoo and many more?
As the USA rises on the newfound nonrenewable source of energy, what will happen to ozone
hole and Arctic ice.
Some time back it was reported (HBR) that if everyone on earth had the same standard of living
as North American we would need more than three planet earths – in the meantime we have
added a billion.
3. What next?
Prediction is futile as the future has become so discontinuous.
But one thing for sure - Armageddon is not far.