The Challenge of Using the Traditional Approach

by Idris Mootee

The Challenge of Using the Traditional ApproachRapid changes in external environment, consumer behavior, global economics and disruptive technologies are throwing off the most rigorous business strategies and the best-trained managers. Everyone expects to see big changes ahead but people react differently to change.

Over 60 percent of companies out there are operating on a dated business model, and 20 percent are operating with a mental model that has expired for more than five years. There are few reasons for those 20 percent of companies to survive another five years or even three, and for the other 60 percent they have a ‘short window of opportunity’ to design and orchestrate their transformation.

Many people become accustomed to the status quo and don’t want to alter the way things are being done — regardless of the potential benefits or the disruptive threats from emerging competition. For many, fear of the unknown and the concern about the ramifications on their careers are barriers to acknowledge the need for change. People don’t like change. And winning belongs to those who thrive with change.

Success for operating in a neck-creaking, fast-moving and unknown environment often comes from the ability to drive the proper transformation, or multiple transformations,  at different critical points for industry breakpoints. “Business as usual” often means “end of a business or an industry.” Being able to reimagine and reinvent offerings and models is critical to addressing economic volatility and staying on top of the market.

Business transformation traditionally takes the form of unfreezing to refreezing, and bridging the gaps in capabilities, mindset and performance. These changes can take the form of business strategy, management style, culture, organization design and business processes.  One very popular model, the classic model proposed by Kurt Lewin, argues that the process of change involves three stages: (1) Unfreezing, (2) Change and (3) Refreezing. This model was valuable in recognizing the importance of not only new learning, but also “unlearning” old attitudes, habits and behavior patterns. Today many question the practicality of this model, suggesting that a “refreeze” implies a resistance to future change and in particular the future is uncertain.

Idea Couture’s Brand-Driven Transformation Model has a strong future orientation and is focused on bringing strategic foresights and organization insights to reimage futures. It uses a lot of Design Thinking principles and makes the process very tangible and collaborative. It is a process of organization co-creation, which people put their stake on what shared destinies they wanted to participate in creating and thus releasing energy in the process. It will take 80 Power Point slides to illustrate the process, a high-level view of this model is captured by the following formula: Successful Brand-Driven Business Transformation = P+N+C+M+I+F

P = Develop a perspective of the future(s) informed by strategic foresights (both customer and technology contexts) and deep organizational insights;

N = Develop a co-created brand narrative that inspires people of possibilities and puts purpose at the core of the story;

C = Develop a compelling case for the need for change, develop and share by all executives, investors, employees and B2B business partners;

M = Develop a practical means to tie innovation (roadmap) and projects to the desired future(s);

I =  Design incentive systems that are aligned to identify and encourage appropriate behaviors compatible with the desired future;

F = Develop a feedback mechanism for each stage of the process to monitor progress and provide input for continuous improvement.

Any business transformation process is painful. The way many organizations manage change or transformation, using an existing model, are facing the challenge of speed. They are too slow and by the time they refreeze, the market has shifted and they need another transformation. The other important issue is key decisions are made in isolation and the change piece comes later which I argue often is too late. The future of “business transformation” is a co-created.

image credit: hlthquest.net

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Idris MooteeIdris Mootee is the CEO of Idea Couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, many published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.

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