Question is the best answer
October 9, 2015
Vitamin ‘C’ for Leadership
October 9, 2015

Disrupt the Organization


In today’s competitive world, we all have seen companies and even industries becoming fast extinct. Businesses will peril unless they realize the urgency to change and remain in sync with the environment.

External events predominantly force the business to change. In spite of this there is a strong resistance or inertia to change within the organization.A false notion of “this doesn’t apply to us or may not impact us” leads businesses to ignore early warning signs.

We have come across many organizations where apparently everything on the surface is in good health, business is ongoing, regular routine tasks are being executed and results are being produced. In spite of all this, there is a growing feeling of something is wrong somewhere.

We have seen organizations where there are visible signs of business loosing focus and losing confidence in its abilities to overcome challenges. This has resulted in either the business going down or stagnating beyond a reasonable time frame. There is also a growing feeling of despair and apprehension amongst employees which adds to the business woes.

There is no prescription from the current best practices world for this. In fact we firmly believe there are no best practices. There are stories of what has worked in one or more organizations, but certainly that cannot guarantee it will work in yours. Each organization is different, and hence, the solutions.

Therefore, the only way out is to create a “Disruption Within”. The leadership must focus on creating a sense of urgency, refining or creating a completely new compelling vision through disruptions that challenge the entire organization and shakes its foundation and beliefs.

Not Accepting the Change – Why

This brings me to think about what makes leaders not accept change. One could be inertia where businesses fall into a safe zone and wish to continue to run in that. They feel stability is rewarding. What the leaders in this category don’t realize is that while they are focusing on maintaining the routine or the standard processes, competition is catching up at great speed. And even before you know it, these competitors would have attracted all your clients and captured your market as well. The other reason could also be that companies simply miss out on seeing the larger picture in the future. They focus so hard on the present that the need to change according to changing circumstances is completely not thought about. Sadly, such companies also meet the same fate as the former, with the company going into losses.

Accepting the Change – How

So then is there any solution to this? And more importantly, is such a condition reversible? The answer to both is yes. When looking for a solution, it is necessary to remember that there is no one right method to go about restructuring a company. Leaders have to devise a strategy that is best suited to their individual needs and avoid following a set or technically prescribed path. There are no predefined solutions as problems arise depending on the existing market conditions and the company’s work history. What leaders can do is systematically analyze the issues, seek external help if required, and accordingly plan a strategy. Regarding the worry if a company can truly overcome a change, there are several positive examples which have proved that if efforts are taken in the right direction then handling a change or even a large scale transformation is successfully possible. I would like to think of Lego in this regard. The company accepted that it needed to alter its policies to counter the loss-making existing strategies. It changed its product line as per the market need to venture into movie-related toys and other merchandise. That was a big leap for someone who was only known for its building blocks till then. But they accepted change whole heartedly and made the most of it.

The “Kill Your Business” Methodology

On that note, I would like to share a methodology I’m personally very impressed with and have implemented with few companies in defining their strategic roadmap or changing mindset in leadership transformation. The technique is known as ‘kill your business‘. No need to worry. It has nothing to do with literally strangulating your company’s future prospects. What it actually means is that, as the leader, you know what has not worked for the company. Accept the fact. And then completely revise the business plan. Shake the roots which did not yield results. This can be done by simply applying the following statement across one & all key team members, functions & areas of the business.

“If I/ We continue doing xxxx (this) I am/ we are doomed & are surely heading for a disaster”.

Once you know the rotten parts of the business that is already spoiling or can surely pull you down in near future, the antidote is “Build your company” from scratch. Go for a fresh, new outlook, new practices which you believe are best suited for your kind of market, clientele, and growth prospects.

This is exactly what is meant by “disrupting the organization within”. It as well might involve a complete makeover of the very foundation on which the company was built. As a leader, it will allow you to experience brand new possibilities which probably even as an entrepreneur you were unaware of. All you need to do is accept the new reality and create new strategies accordingly.

As Buckminster Fuller aptly puts it, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete“.