As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’
— Bob Dylan, 1963
We all think we live in particularly turbulent times. In fact, we live in more turbulent times than ever before. Henri Mintzberg, famously, pointed out this is what basically everybody thinks about their own time. He shows proof going back as far as the year 1868, when in Scientific American it was recorded: “[…] grander achievements have been realized in the course of 50 years of our own lifetime then in the previous lifetime of the race.”
The point is that change is everywhere, but what changes and the rate at which things change is not predictable. Hence, elaborate strategic planning documents to which you stick to, is not going to be of much help.
Mintzberg, instead, pointed to emergent strategy as opposed to fixed, deliberate strategy. However, this provided quite a few with a handy excuse to avoid difficult strategic choices and simply becoming a fast copier of competitors’ choices, which seem to work. But, what to do instead?
1. FOCUS ON ESSENTIALS: Where to play? and How to win?
2. MAKE LOGIC EXPLICIT: Continually check assumptions
3. PREVENT DRIFT: Keep a 360º ‘user’ perspective
THE (quick) CHANGE-ABILITY CHECK