Over on the Medium publication that I've created for my upcoming book on Building the Agile Business I've posted some thoughts on why, in the context of digital transformation and the significant amount of change that many organisations are undergoing right now, we need to reinvent traditional approaches to change management. In the book, a key theme is how digital transformation is far from being the linear process with a beginning, middle and an end that many take it to be. Instead the transition that needs to happen is one towards creating a new type of organisation that is in itself designed around continuous change and the ability to respond to rapidly changing contexts. So we are, more than ever, in the business of continuously managing change. And rather than the traditional, fixed and linear change management processes we need far more fluid and adaptive approaches to better account of a rapidly and continually changing operating environment. I listed some fundamental ways in which I believe that change management itself needs to change which I thought were worth repeating here:
The point about this is that whilst digital transformation has become a buzz-word, the reality is that many organisations are undergoing (or need to undergo) significant and fundamental change in order to be fit for purpose for the digitally-empowered world in which we all now operate. But we cannot rely on outdated approaches amongst rapidly shifting contexts. Change management needs to change.
For exclusive content relating to my upcoming book on organisational agility, you can sign up here
An important announcement. The manuscript is finished and submitted and we have a publication date for our book on Building The Agile Business. It will be out on April 3rd. I don't mind admitting that it's been something of a marathon to write it but I'm really pleased with the result. I've been writing here and consulting on organisational agility for over six years, so this represents the culmination of a long-term journey for me.
Right from the beginning of the project, our observation has been that there is plenty of material out there that talks about the why of digital transformation, but very little that effectively captures what good looks like, and enables a better understanding of the how. So that's what we've written about.
We see this not only as the publishing of a book but as the start of a conversation around a subject that is surely one of the most fundamental business challenges of today. So between now and the publication date we'll be posting content relevant to the ideas and themes explored in the book and encouraging discussion around some of the concepts, models and arguments. We have built a site to support Building the Agile Business, and will be posting to the blog there. We have even created an Agile Business Manifesto, which captures (in the same way that the agile manifesto did all those years ago for software development) the fundamental principles for a new type of business fit for a digitally empowered world.
And we've created an email list which we'll be using to give access to exclusive content, occasional updates and relevant thinking related to the book (no spamming - it will likely be a monthly update). Subscribers will also get preferential access and offers at the launch. You can sign up for that here.
I'm looking forward to some good discussion on the ideas that we've brought together.
'We believe there’s a great six week version of nearly everything. Occasionally some things fall outside of this limit — deep R&D projects, brand new tech we’ve never used before, etc. But we’ve come to discover that nearly everything important can be done in six weeks or less. And done well.'
Always changing, never standing still, working in blocks of time even for the largest projects, dedicating resource to both large scale and small change request so that neither is ignored, small-multidisciplinary teams, reflection and planning time, robust ways to harvest ideas. As I say, lots to like.
Most of the studies that have been done on corporate longevity have focused on the trajectory of the largest organisations (like those in the S & P 500) and the prevailing narrative has been one of shrinking lifespans and growing mortality rates. But Dartmouth professor Vijay Govindarajan and his research team have now conducted a far more comprehensive study covering the full range of almost 30,000 companies listed on U.S. stock markets from 1960 to 2009. Their findings support the dominant narrative of increasing mortality. They found that those that had been listed before 1970 had a 92% chance of surviving the next five years, whereas those listed from 2000 to 2009 had only a 63% chance (and this was even controlling for dotcom boom and recession).
But the beneath this headline, there were other interesting findings about the type of companies that are fuelling this trend. It turns out that the trend is being driven by more recently listed businesses (since 2000) that are grounded in newer, digitally-empowered business models and services rather than older businesses that invest more heavility in physical assets. The digitisation of business is indeed bringing greater efficiency and opportunity, but it comes at the price of stability and greater surety. Say the researchers:
'The good news is the newer firms are more nimble. The bad news for these firms is that their days are numbered, unless they continually innovate.'
Sounds familiar. And it makes me wonder whether, with digitisation increasingly reaching into physical product, infrastructure, manufacturing and logistics, this trend will more and more be driven by the broadest possible set of businesses.