In an unpredictable 21st century, where rapid change and acceleration in complexity is the only constant, companies need to adopt a mix of strategies to manage change and continue to survive and thrive as presented by Shona Brown and Kathleen Eisenhardt in their thought-provoking book Competing On the Edge.
Strategy of Reacting to change: By releasing better products, repackaging existing products, and creating services respectively in relation to competitor’s product moves, unexpected market demands, and changes in the government policies
Strategy of Anticipating change: By developing marketing channels, lining up resources, and creating technical options respectively in anticipation of creation of new customer segments, globalization of markets, and emergence of conflicting technologies
Strategy of Leading change: Forcing other firms to follow by creating game-changing technologies and products, raising industry standards, redefining customer expectations, and increasing the pace of industry product cycles
In order to successfully manage the strategic challenge of change, leaders need to deliberately create a culture and encourage behaviors oriented towards the mix of reacting to, anticipating and managing change. This means that the organization should believe in and encourage having an eclectic mix of people and a heterogeneous environment within to successfully deal with the challenge of change. Leaders who favor creating a homogeneous environment within will fail to create a sustainable organization, as the company may be good only in one of the strategies mentioned above.
Does your organizational culture encourage behaviors towards effectively managing change?