Monthly Archives: August 2014

Change is Accelerating

Heraclitus, a 5th Century BC philosopher, focused on the doctrine of change. He put forth the many pearls of wisdom, which in turn were quoted by the likes of Aristotle and Plato. Two of these are:

  • “You could not step twice into the same river”
  • “It is harder to fight against pleasure than against anger”

But the one he is most remembered for is:

  • “The only thing that is constant in life is change”

Think about that. Here we are today in a world full of change, and some bloke from 2,500 years ago agrees. If change was constantly happening back then, how much more is it around us today.

But, change is not linear. It’s not happening at a steady rate. It does seem that new and significant, that trends and shifts, that developments and advances are upon us with increasing rapidity. Think about this. As much as we have seen over the last 75 years, we will see over the next 25.

Now, reflect upon what we have seen over the last 75 years. The invention of penicillin, the achievements of moon landings, and that all pervasive internet. What will we see over the next 25? Driverless cars as standard, over-the-counter individually-tailored gene-based medicines, holographic shopping experiences?

There is a theory that attempts to describe what we are experiencing. Its called “the accelerating change” theory. Its where as we discover new ways of doing things, we learn more, which in turn opens up more improvements, and so on. And as more people become connected and aware of these improvements, even more change will happen.

Think about that self-serve checkout at the supermarket. Someone figured out a way, based on self-serve at the petrol station, to enable customers to do the same with grocery items. And now, given the convenience and speed of this change at supermarkets, we can get in and out quickly.  I dare say you could find many more examples.

Change will always be with us, and the rate of change is increasing. That has a real impact upon you and upon your organization. How will you, how are you navigating a path forward?

 
For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

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Handling Uncertainty

How does your organisation handle uncertainty? When is the market for you products likely to shift? What trends are influencing those who consume your goods and services?

One way to approach what is happening in the market you are operating in is to consider these changes in terms of complexity and dynamism. How complex is your market? How many players are there and what are their relationships? Do buyer decisions rest on the actions of others?

Housing development may be considered a complex market. Not only are there consumer trends to watch for, but council approvals, political overlays, appeals processes and the like.

A dynamic market is where there are frequent disruptors, where technology leads the charge, where new players enter and market share must be defended.

The smartphone market is a dynamic market. For how long did Apple have dominance until Google with their partners delivering Android based phones come on the scene? And now it seems its a virtual turf war to defend, up the ante, and so.

So, how do you handle uncertainty? How do you handle complexity and dynamism?

The answer is with strategic foresight.

The answer is with a set of strategic thinking tools to navigate these changes. Whether its the use of tools such as scenario planning, environmental scanning, or causal layered analysis, you can plan for the future. You can forecast change that is likely to happen rather than adapt to change as its happening.

 
For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

Improving Business Performance

How is your organisation tracking? Surviving or thriving? Well, think about this … applying the principles of strategic management to any size business or organisation will improve performance.

Also consider this: ‘‘Small businesses that engage in contemporary strategic management practices tend to outperform those that do not.’’

This comes from a Brighton University (UK) study conducted several years ago (2007). Even though it is not a recent study, the conclusions those involved in the research are still relevant today. One startling one was that “strategic thinking is an essential ingredient in enterprise survival, performance and growth“.

Thus, what is your view on survival, performance & growth? Do you look for new, are you just hanging on, are things going well & will they continue to go well? The theory and practice strongly suggests that it is a matter of how you treat strategy. Of what your view is of the future. Its whether or not you plan sufficiently.

Now, when it comes to defining strategy, there are three broad areas to consider:

  1. what are the products & services to be offered?
  2. what markets are to be targeted?
  3. how is competitive advantage secured and maintained?

And the process of strategic management does not need to be overly complex, but it does need to be done. The mindshift that needs to be made is moving from working in the business to working on the business.

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.