Just as American pioneers faced the treacherouslandscape of North Dakota’s Badlands, corpora-tions in a post tech-boom bus...
usual is no more and the old ways don’t cut it.                           Prepare your company for certain hard roads     ...
Badlands          Fear, insecurity, confusion                                     To survive, everyone must take the journ...
building their future, they own it. Maps that show di-rection, instead of complex documents, will focus                   ...
Badlands          how to generate new ideas as well as disseminate new          professionals. A broader application of ju...
Valuation and volatility. The valuation volatility of the   will emerge as an important nexus of innovation. Sup-late 1990...
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Navigating the Badlands Whitepaper


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By Cynthia D. Scott and Mary O’Hara-Devereaux

Navigating the Badlands

Just as American pioneers faced the treacherous landscape of North Dakota’s Badlands, corporations in a post tech-boom business climate face their own daunting terrain, where business as usual is no more and the old ways don’t cut it.

Prepare your company for certain hard roads ahead with the Badlands map and sage advice from those who have entered and survived.

Economic Structural Shifts

Every 100 years or so, a systemic structural shift occurs. Driven by clusters of multiple innovations and strong environmental forces, the emerging socioeconomic system and business environment have more discontinuities than similarities with the past. The entire system undergoes transformation. The shift isn’t about bringing greater efficiency to existing structures; rather it’s about creating something fundamentally different. That process can take 10 to 15 years and involve ongoing strategic issues. Companies that survive are transformed.

The Badlands has many features: rugged peaks, dangerous waterholes, confusing crossroads, and a set of nine pains unique to its hazardous landscape. A pain is a strategic issue—an internal or external opportunity or threat that drives an organization to change direction.

The Nine Pains Explained…

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Navigating the Badlands Whitepaper

  1. 1. Just as American pioneers faced the treacherouslandscape of North Dakota’s Badlands, corpora-tions in a post tech-boom business climate facetheir own daunting terrain, where business asNavigating
  2. 2. usual is no more and the old ways don’t cut it. Prepare your company for certain hard roads ahead with the Badlands map and sage advice from those who have entered and survived. By Cynthia D. Scott and Mary O’Hara-Devereaux Badlands ™theIllustration by Bryan Leister Illustration by Janet Schatzman, Parnassus Consulting, www.parnassus.biz © 2002. Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, Ph.D., Global Foresight. All rights reserved. www.global-foresight.org
  3. 3. Badlands Fear, insecurity, confusion To survive, everyone must take the journey. This —most executives experience at least one of those feel- change represents a shift in context, not just in market. ings when they discover they’re in the Badlands, the The Badlands is a landscape where you must adapt rugged, global business landscape corporations now continuously and make the most of experiences face. That realization is often driven home by dramat- by turning them to your advantage. The goal isn’t to ic changes in their companies’ business fortunes, such escape, but to use the experience as an adaptive prac- as loss in market share, significant downturn of stock tice field in preparation for certain hard times ahead— valuation, or major talent migration. Worldwide, and future success. companies are experiencing major structural changes. A profound disorientation sets in as companies realize Scan, scout, steer. it’s no longer business as usual. This shift has been In a rugged landscape, you need to keep re-orienting brewing for a decade, though obscured by the late- as conditions change frequently in unexpected ways. 1990s bubble economy. Training and development professionals must become So, how can you make sense out of your trek more externally focused. They must acquire new scan- through the Badlands? It promises to be a long, diffi- ning and scouting capabilities, as well as a readiness to cult journey. The landscape is under constant erosion steer through the valleys and peaks. The ability to tra- from converging forces, causing structural shifts of verse unknown territory, retrieve data, and turn it into tectonic proportions throughout our economic and knowledge on which to base decisions aided the pio- social systems. neers’ survival. Slowly, they developed new intuition In this article, we orient you to the Navigating the from their direct experiences. Those who didn’t learn Badlands map—an essential tool to make sense of this to scan the landscape for warning signs of impending new environment. We focus specifically on the impli- disaster and then innovate perished. cations for learning, training, and development. Successful scanning requires the ability to recognize Throughout your journey, it’s important to remember and codify unfamiliar indicators of change. The ability that bad is a relative term. Though the Badlands is a to see with new eyes requires breaking an attachment hostile landscape, it’s also beautiful, representing 10 to memory-based thinking. How addicted are you to years of opportunities. Every company’s journey will the mindsets and behaviors that made you successful be unique. But before you start, take a moment to in the Industrial Plains? Your assumptions about look within. What is your company’s executive, com- growth, culture, motivation, measurement, and struc- panywide, and employee readiness to adapt to the ture will need to be tested in a different environment. Badlands environment? Are you prepared to build the The dot.com era and its ultimate demise were the re- capabilities and innovations required to create a path- sult of poor scanning and scouting. But beware that way to the future? recounting tales from your journey through the Bad- lands can be hazardous. Leaders brought up on mod- The journey els of motivation and isolated decision making may As the American pioneers stood at the edge of the Bad- disbelieve. Telling the truth about the Badlands re- lands of North Dakota, the landscape appeared much quires being candid and vulnerable (risky behaviors less treacherous than it actually was. It seemed possible for most people), and involves the organization’s stake- to skirt the promontories. Similarly, many business so- holders in strategic decisions. Traditional methods of journers rely on their past innovations to avoid the strategic planning by a concentrated group of con- Badlands. They learn quickly, however, that old routes cerned executives don’t provide the diverse perspec- lead into deep canyons with no outlets. They think tives and global views for setting a new course. There they have a clear view of this new landscape, but few isn’t time to “roll out” or “cascade” the strategy in an are actually prepared for the difficulty of the journey attempt to get people to “buy in.” and the changes that it requires. For the clever and Larger segments at all levels of the organization alert, that response is brief and quickly subsides. They must be involved in shaping strategic direction. That re-equip themselves, climb back on the wagon, and fol- will build the shared commitment needed to over- low the courageous into the unknown. The only way come the top-down, “not invented here” attitude of out is through. change and innovation. When people are involved in26 TDJanuary 2003
  4. 4. building their future, they own it. Maps that show di-rection, instead of complex documents, will focus and trust. Comfort from past relationships disinte- Economicconversations in individual work units. Global organi- grates as teams form and re- Structuralzations will use these maps to help create a language ofstrategy across national boundaries. In the Badlands, form, and as companies merge and reconfigure. Shiftscross-generational perspectives are needed to best There’s a gnawing feeling of Every 100 years or so, a sys-scan, scout, and steer. Participation isn’t a “nice to incoherency and mistrust. temic structural shift occurs.have”; it’s a requirement. People are stressed and ex- Driven by clusters of multiple Scouts need to be encouraged to bring data back to hausted from encounters innovations and strong envi-vanguard teams and help them create meaning with multiple relationships ronmental forces, the emerg-through spirited conversations with hard questions and subcultures. ing socioeconomic systemand rapid decision making. In order to commit to the The journey through the and business environmentorganization, employees will demand to be involved Badlands provides organiza- have more discontinuitiesin that process. tions with new myths, than similarities with the heroes, villains, and here- past. The entire system un-The Nine Pains tics. Cultures are created dergoes transformation. TheThe Badlands has many features: rugged peaks, dan- through the repeated inter- shift isn’t about bringinggerous waterholes, confusing crossroads, and a set of action of people over time. greater efficiency to existingnine pains unique to its hazardous landscape. A pain is A more diverse group of structures; rather it’s abouta strategic issue—an internal or external opportunity people will be actively and creating something funda-or threat that drives an organization to change direc- meaningfully involved in mentally different. Thattion. Badlands pains are severe. They cause organiza- creating the new organiza- process can take 10 to 15tions to make difficult choices—each with a different tion, though it will certainly years and involve ongoingset of tradeoffs. But only by making a choice, experi- have indistinct boundaries. strategic issues. Companiesencing it, and measuring its consequences will you Customers and consumers that survive are transformed.know whether your decision is sound. Badlands pains will become more proactiveare chronic; they don’t heal quickly, and they can be and interactive throughcured only through adaptation. multiple layers of partnership networks. The goal of this journey is to create new organiza- That provides a challenging learning environmenttions with specializations adapted to the conditions of for training and development professionals, particu-the Badlands. To do so, companies must find the right larly at the beginning of the Badlands journey whenresolution pathways, use new tools and bodies of people are distracted by the complexity and uncertain-knowledge, and forge new relationships. The rewards ty of the environment and their roles. Circles of trustare worth the pain. constrict, and the ability to absorb new learning di- Organizations will struggle with the nine Badlands minishes. A new emotional literacy must be developedpains in different ways and at different levels, but noth- to help people feel as though they belong. Creating rit-ing will undergo a greater transformation than training uals that help people bond in new ways to an unstableand development. The following scenarios mark major organization will be a role for training and develop-challenges that training and development will face in ment practitioners.its journey. More rapid decision making, rapid learning. The newCoping with cultural disintegration. Corporate cul- environment demands that organizations create theture, as we know it, is a relic of the 20th century. It falls capacity for rapid decision making. It’s also criticaloff a cliff into the Badlands and disappears in a dry that decisions are made in a way that keeps optionscreek bed. It later reemerges with new sets of values open. A key impediment to rapid decision making areand behaviors as the organization continues the meta- the boundaries between diverse participants. Trainingmorphosis crafted during the Badlands journey. In the and development teams must become skilled at facili-early going, organizational stability no longer holds tating groups to transcend those boundaries quickly.people together. Loyalty is replaced with self-interest Often, decision makers won’t have the knowledgeand protectiveness leading to a lack of commitment or framework they require. Groups will need to learn TDJanuary 2003 27
  5. 5. Badlands how to generate new ideas as well as disseminate new professionals. A broader application of just-in-time learning to others. That’s particularly true at strategic learning is needed, as are new methodologies for imple- levels. It’s essential that organizations develop the abil- mentation. That will require keeping up-to-date on ity to execute complex strategies that influence business results in order to provide learning facilitation changes in their industry, standards, government rela- support and access to critical information. Learning tions in different countries, strategic partners for new professionals must scan and scout for the best resources technologies, and development of new talent. in the environment to support the constant flow of new The major cross-cutting demand is for more infor- decisions and options. That means, in part, they will mal learning support from training and development need to become more specialized in their knowledge.The Nine Pains ExplainedCompetency Addiction: Strategy Tragedy: Failure and Doubt Identity Crisis:Euphoria, Smugness A startling feeling of failure and doubt Lack of Self-Confidence and BelongingAn unconscious, automatic use of mind- emerges when carefully honed strate- Early on in their journey through the Bad-sets and business behaviors once respon- gies don’t produce the expected busi- lands when market share drops, brandsible for success in the late industrial age. ness results. Throughout the Industrial erodes, and traditional intellectual proper-When applied in the Badlands, however, Plains, where the business fitness land- ty rights weaken, a company’s characterthese mindsets and behaviors don’t scape was far less rugged, linear strategy takes a hit. Identity is fragmented inachieve the desired results. Applying old development and implementation were response to membership in multiple net-mindsets feels comfortable and is often successful—long-term. Strategy creation works and the resulting interconnected-reinforced by euphoria and smugness, but and execution are much more complex in ness. Questions about core purpose andtheir ineffectiveness wastes resources the Badlands. values surface concerns about belonging.and debilitates organizational vigor. There’s often tension between individual Talent Tantrums: Undesirable, Unfit and organizational identity.Leadership Insecurity: Volatility in commitment and gaps in es-Fear and Inadequacy sential staff skills and competencies re- Partnership Paralysis:Profound feelings of fear and inadequacy sult in an organization that’s unfit to Risk, Sense of Lossafflict executives and managers. It occurs compete and innovate. The challenge is Anxiety emerges from managing the nu-when well-developed, once-successful to recruit and retain the most valuable tal- merous, diverse relationships needed tohabits and intuition become outmoded. ent. The organization feels fragmented conduct business successfully in theLeaders sense the need to build skills and unattractive to the vibrant knowledge Badlands. Multiple temporary relation-that foster interdependence, but the risks workers who can bring innovation. ships require new assurances of fairnessassociated with sharing power seem and protection of integrity. There’s aoverwhelming. Customer Conundrum: sense of loss as long-term, established Confusion, Fragmentation partnerships wither and organizations ex-Valuation Volatility: The shift from mass markets to multiple- perience the uncomfortable risk of am-Vexation and Disorientation niche markets is driven by smarter, info- biguous, short-term partnerships.Vexation and disorientation take over as mated customers who are discriminatingstock prices fluctuate widely and objec- and demanding. Organizations feel con- Technology Infrastructure Ills:tive valuation standards disappear. Di- fused and pulled in multiple directions Frustration, Blunderingverse drivers such as greed, intangible (fragmented) trying to please and delight A collision between legacy systems andvalue, and analysts with conflicts of inter- complex customers. new connective technologies occurs.est create long-term instability and uncer- There’s more technology, but it’s lesstainty. New tools have yet to emerge, easily combined. Peer-to-peer archi-and old ones aren’t very useful. tectures accelerate the need for out- frastructure. The challenge of integrating technology causes frustration and a feel- ing of ineptitude or blundering.28 TDJanuary 2003
  6. 6. Valuation and volatility. The valuation volatility of the will emerge as an important nexus of innovation. Sup-late 1990s will persist throughout this decade. A chal- porting and nurturing their development as high per-lenge for t&d is the constant demand by top manage- formers will provide a competitive edge. The wisdomment to show specific ROI for programs, which may of the boomers coupled with the well-honed knowl-make several key navigational competencies (innova- edge skills of Gen Y will combine to fuel the changestion, resilience, engagement, and commitment) un- required in the organization.dervalued. This dilemma continues as will the A need to match people to business results. Organi-demand for linkage to business results. Training and zations pursued the grail of competencies and bench-development professionals know that there often isn’t marking, giving them capabilities more specializeda direct way to link most training to bottom-line re- and context-specific than they realized. The other sidesults, particularly as knowledge work occupies a larger of competency is disability, which becomes evident asshare of their occupation. companies find themselves in the Badlands. Compe- The critical innovation for t&d people is to create tencies evolved in limited contexts rarely prepare orga-frameworks, measures, and strategies that link their nizations for the broad understanding required toefforts to business results that are understandable to launch into new strategies for conducting business in athe executive team. A continued dialogue between se- networked global economy.nior executives and the learning executives based on Organizations and employees that suffered fromold ideas, language, and frameworks is a waste of re- Competency Addiction often inhibited the develop-sources and a fatal mistake. Part of executive readiness ment of new skills and mindsets for a renegotiated psy-will be learning how to partner with HR and training chological contract with work. Organizations alsoleaders. Learning and performance leaders must prac- pursued competencies based on the hierarchies of thetice creative destruction. They must rid themselves of Industrial Plains, such as 360-degree feedback, whichold mindsets and systems that won’t work in the Bad- created narrow evaluation frameworks and oftenlands or they will perish and be replaced. It’s essential lacked the broad view needed in a global environment.that they relieve their own pain of Competency Ad- You can enter the Badlands alone, but you can’t getdiction. out alone. Shared innovation is the platform for sur-Learning needs and learners. Bands of free agents vival. Only through cross-generational teams willwith skill-based portfolios will wander the Industrial new ideas be supplied and coupled with the capacityPlains searching for opportunities to add value. to execute. Wise travelers will engage in spirited dia-They’ve been cast out of organizations through out- logue, as the scouts return with stories of the treacher-sourcing, early retirement, and restructuring. Their ous route ahead.metrics for loyalty and commitment are forever The field of workplace learning has the opportuni-changed, spurred by notions of Me Inc. They experi- ty to provide some guides through the Badlands. Itenced the Badlands up close and personal, often be- can lead the scouting parties into the unknown terri-fore organizations could respond. In some cases they tory and build capabilities to support innovation andfired their organizations and took their skills to places survival. Learning professionals will be critical in help-that would value their contributions. It will be essen- ing executives gain the readiness they need to leadtial to connect and nurture these relationships for or- their organizations. In the process, they’ll also trans-ganizational advantage. form themselves and their roles. TD During the journey through the Badlands, special-ized mobile networks of knowledge workers will Cynthia D. Scott, Ph.D., is a partner at Changeworks Global,become commonplace and loosely coupled to the or- www.changeworksglobal.com a San Francisco-based consulting firmganization. New learners include customers who will specializing in designing and implementing outcome-oriented changebe more involved and will interact along the entire management; cscott@changeworksglobal.com. Mary O’Hara-value chain. Suppliers will become key players in Devereaux, Ph.D., is president and founder of Global Foresight, athe multitude of value webs that make up organiza- strategy consulting firm in San Francisco, www.global-foresight.org.tions. All of those people will need support; they’re She’s the author of several books and articles on the intersection of de-the target of training and development initiatives. mographic, social, economic, and technological trends and their impact As the decade rolls on, cross-generational teams on organizations and leaders; mohara@global-foresight.org. TDJanuary 2003 29