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Rita McGrath (Columbia Business School) - Seeing Around Corners: How To Spot Inflection Points Before They Happen


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Seeing Around Corners: How To Spot Inflection Points Before They Happen
Rita’s talk will provide an overview of 8 practices that leaders can utilize to increase their awareness of shifts in the business environment/pending inflection points and help you to capitalize on them.

Having mechanisms for direct, personal experience at the edges when the organization will often try to prevent you from seeing the reality
Having diverse perspectives weighing in on key decisions
Empowering and entrusting smaller agile teams rather than committees
Having mechanisms and resources available to place little bets on experiments
Regularly ‘get out of the building’ to gain perspective rather than being chained to your desk
Structuring incentives that promote truth-telling rather than the opposite
Avoiding denial of negative or disconfirming evidence
William Gibson, a science fiction writer, famously said “the future is already here – it just isn’t evenly distributed yet” – so talk to the future (example: if you want to know what 20 year olds are going to be like in 10 years, talk to 10 year olds today!)

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Rita McGrath (Columbia Business School) - Seeing Around Corners: How To Spot Inflection Points Before They Happen

  1. 1. Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen Rita Günther McGrath
  2. 2. // October 16, 2018
  3. 3. // A long, slow slide…stock price
  4. 4. // A long, slow slide - revenue
  5. 5. // Meanwhile…
  6. 6. //
  7. 7. Strategic Inflection Points
  8. 8. Direct-to- Consumer brands have traditional competitors reeling
  9. 9. 9 Software enables access to assets, not ownership of assets
  10. 10. The very notion of “industry” creates strategic blind spots
  11. 11. Instead, think of “jobs to be done” With credit to Clayton Christensen
  12. 12. What jobs do clothes do for teens? 13
  13. 13. And now…? 14
  14. 14. A contributing element… 15
  15. 15. But there are always winners! 16
  16. 16. Do I have mechanisms to come in direct contact with the ‘edges’? ❑
  17. 17. // Am I regularly gaining exposure to diverse perspectives? PAGE 19
  18. 18. // Am I trusting and empowering small, agile teams? PAGE 20
  19. 19. // Do I have mechanisms for fostering ‘little bets’? PAGE 21
  20. 20. // Do I regularly get out of the building to see what’s going on? PAGE 22
  21. 21. // Are incentives aligned with hearing uncomfortable news? PAGE 23
  22. 22. // Am I making sure I’m not in denial? PAGE 24
  23. 23. // Go to where the future lives PAGE 25 Trinity and Loom bands
  24. 24. Summary 1. Do I make sure I have direct contact with the ‘edges?’ 2. Do I incorporate diverse perspectives in my decisions? 3. Do I empower small, agile teams? 4. Do I make resources available for little bets? 5. Do I regularly get out of the building? 6. Does my organization reward truth-telling? 7. Have I checked that I am not in denial? 8. Do I deliberately seek out aspects of the future that are here today?
  25. 25. Strategy + Innovation + Digital
  26. 26. Concluding Thoughts ▷ Strategy isn’t what it was… ▷ Inflection points don’t happen instantly – this creates the opportunity ▷ Being aware of what is going on at the edges is a first step to seeing around corners
  27. 27. Thank You! Rita McGrath @rgmcgrath 29