My Predictions – #1 Continuous Transformation

When I entered the corporate world over 40 years ago, change wasn’t something you did much of, and you certainly didn’t talk about it. Organizations existed to execute work, and most pretty much did the same thing day after day. When there was change, employees normally accepted it without question.

Fast forward to today. The marketplace demands more and faster innovation and vastly improved customer experiences. Therefore, organizations must reinvent themselves regularly. Organizations must also enroll employees more fully to satisfy the talent pool’s insatiable desire to make a difference.

This leads to my prediction that more organizations will develop a culture of continuous transformation – a culture that continuously evaluates and rapidly implements change.

The implications of this on organizational design and leadership behavior are significant. In his book Team of Teams, Stanley McChrystal tells us that one key reason we had so much trouble in the Middle East in the mid-2000s was because our military had a historically hierarchical structure. Staff in one area were artificially constrained from fast, open communications with staff in other areas. This created a situation where it took too much time to regroup as ISIS popped up here and there. McChrystal’s team learned the enemy’s organizational structure was spatial. There were no specific reporting relationships. Everyone had complete open access to everyone else.

The other factor is that as the iGeneration matures and enters the workforce, they will identify, accept, embrace, and execute change faster and more proficiently. Senior leaders must prepare for this by hiring and encouraging bright young people who can help them transform – and accept that they may not do it the way they might prefer.

This all means that leaders must give up the old command and control management techniques. Yes, you still need some form of control since there are goals to obtain and finances to manage. As we move to continuous transformation, leaders become coaches, and guide rather than control the work going forward.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,

Steve

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