jerryking + organizational_change   13

Why big companies squander good ideas
August 6, 2018 | | Financial Times | Tim Harford

.....Organisations from newspapers to oil majors to computing giants have persistently struggled to embrace new technological opportunities, or recognise new technological threats, even when the threats are mortal or the opportunities are golden. Why do some ideas slip out of the grasp of incumbents, then thrive in the hands of upstarts?.....“Disruption describes what happens when firms fail because they keep making the kinds of choices that made them successful,” says Joshua Gans, an economist at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto and author of The Disruption Dilemma. Successful organisations stick to their once-triumphant strategies, even as the world changes around them. More horses! More forage!

Why does this happen? Easily the most famous explanation comes from Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. Christensen’s 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, told a compelling story about how new technologies creep up from below: they are flawed or under-developed at first, so do not appeal to existing customers. Holiday snappers do not want to buy digital cameras the size of a shoebox and the price of a car.

However, Christensen explains, these technologies do find customers: people with unusual needs previously unserved by the incumbent players. The new technology gets better and, one day, the incumbent wakes up to discover that an upstart challenger has several years’ head start — and once-loyal customers have jumped ship.
............Within academia, Rebecca Henderson’s ideas about architectural innovation are widely cited, and she is one of only two academics at Harvard Business School to hold the rank of university professor. The casual observer of business theories, however, is far more likely to have heard of Clayton Christensen, one of the most famous management gurus on the planet.

That may be because Christensen has a single clear theory of how disruption happens — and a solution, too: disrupt yourself before you are disrupted by someone else. That elegance is something we tend to find appealing.

The reality of disruption is less elegant — and harder to solve. Kodak’s position may well have been impossible, no matter what managers had done. If so, the most profitable response would have been to vanish gracefully.

“There are multiple points of failure,” says Henderson. “There’s the problem of reorganisation. There’s the question of whether the new idea will be profitable. There are cognitive filters. There is more than one kind of denial. To navigate successfully through, an incumbent organisation has to overcome every one of these obstacles.”

......Henderson added that the innovators — like Fuller — are often difficult people. “The people who bug large organisations to do new things are socially awkward, slightly fanatical and politically often hopelessly naive.” Another point of failure......The message of Henderson’s work with Kim Clark and others is that when companies or institutions are faced with an organisationally disruptive innovation, there is no simple solution. There may be no solution at all. “I’m sorry it’s not more management guru-ish,” she tells me, laughing. “But anybody who’s really any good at this will tell you that this is hard.”
Apple  blitzkrieg  disruption  ideas  IBM  innovation  iPod  missed_opportunities  hard_work  Rotman  Steve_Jobs  theory  Tim_Harford  upstarts  large_companies  WWI  Xerox  Walkman  Clayton_Christensen  organizational_change  organizational_structure  MPOF  militaries  digital_cameras 
september 2018 by jerryking
What the history of the electric dynamo teaches about the future of the computer.
JUNE 9 2007 6:18 AM
By Tim Harford

David's research also suggests patience. New technology takes time to have a big economic impact. More importantly, businesses and society itself have to adapt before that will happen. Such change is always difficult and, perhaps mercifully, slower than the march of technology.

More recent research from MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson has shown that the history of the dynamo is repeating itself: Companies do not do well if they spend a lot of money on IT projects unless they also radically reorganize to take advantage of the technology. The rewards of success are huge, but the chance of failure is high. That may explain why big IT projects so often fail, and why companies nevertheless keep trying to introduce them.

Brynjolfsson recently commented that the technology currently available is enough to fuel a couple of decades of organizational improvements.
technology  Alfred_Chandler  historians  IT  productivity  productivity_payoffs  Erik_Brynjolfsson  organizational_improvements  organizational_change  organizational_structure  Tim_Harford  business_history 
may 2017 by jerryking
Marginal gains matter but gamechangers transform
25 March/26 March 2017 | FT | by Tim Harford.

In the hunt for productivity, the revolutionary long shot is worth the cost and risk.

.............................As Olympic athletes have shown, marginal improvements accumulated over time can deliver world-beating performance,” said Andrew Haldane in a speech on Monday, which is quite true. Mr Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist
........The marginal gains philosophy tries to turn innovation into a predictable process: tweak your activities, gather data, embrace what works and repeat.......As Mr Haldane says, marginal improvements can add up.

But can they add up to productivity gains for the economy as a whole? The question matters. There is no economic topic more important than productivity, which in the long run determines whether living standards surge or stagnate.
........
The idea that developed economies can A/B test their way back to brisk productivity growth is a seductive one.

An alternative view is that what’s really lacking is a different kind of innovation: the long shot. Unlike marginal gains, long shots usually fail, but can pay off spectacularly enough to overlook 100 failures.
.....
These two types of innovation complement each other. Long shot innovations open up new territories; marginal improvements colonise them. The 1870s saw revolutionary breakthroughs in electricity generation and distribution but the dynamo didn’t make much impact on productivity until the 1920s. To take advantage of electric motors, manufacturers needed to rework production lines, redesign factories and retrain workers. Without these marginal improvements the technological breakthrough was of little use.
....Yet two questions remain. One is why so many businesses lag far behind the frontier. .......The culprit may be a lack of competition: vigorous competition tends to raise management quality by spurring improvements and by punishing incompetents with bankruptcy. ....
But the second question is why productivity growth has been so disappointing. A/B testing has never been easier or more fashionable, after all. The obvious answer is that the long shots matter, too.
.....In a data-driven world, it’s easy to fall back on a strategy of looking for marginal gains alone, avoiding the risky, unquantifiable research (jk: leaps of faith). Over time, the marginal gains will surely materialise. I’m not so sure that the long shots will take care of themselves.
adaptability  breakthroughs  compounded  economics  game_changers  incrementalism  innovation  leaps_of_faith  marginal_improvements  moonshots  nudge  organizational_change  organizational_improvements  organizational_structure  productivity  productivity_payoffs  slight_edge  taxonomy  thinking_big  Tim_Harford 
march 2017 by jerryking
How to Handle Growing Pains In Your Church
February 20, 2014
How to Handle Growing Pains In Your Church
By Pastor Rick Warren

"There is no growth without change. And there is no change without loss. And there is no loss without pain. "
growth  churches  quotes  Rick_Warren  pain_points  organizational_change  tradeoffs 
june 2016 by jerryking
Quick-Change Artists May Find Fast Route to Executive Positions
May. 9, 1995 | WSJ | HAL LANCASTER

HERE'S A HOT career tip for the truly ambitious: Be a change agent.

Change agents, i.e. corporate alchemists who can reinvent a company's culture and operations, are the Holy Grail of executive searches these days....with so many companies looking for new brooms to sweep away their cobwebs, every manager or consultant on the prowl for bigger responsibilities wants to be one. But job seekers beware, because these positions _ which can range from unit heads to CEOs _ can be booby traps. CEOs love the idea of change, but the actual practice can be a blow to their egos.

Recruiter Dennis Krieger tells of the executive brought in to revamp the financial department of an industrial distributor. Four months later, the CEO wanted to fire him for being ``too aggressive and upsetting too many people,'' Mr. Krieger says. The CEO reconsidered after conceding the executive had met his goals.

``They say they want you to question everything, but they don't really want that,'' says Terry Gallagher, executive vice president of Battalia Winston in New York...a wise change agent often is more of a prod than a broom. ``A real change agent isn't someone who's going to make a lot of changes,'' Mr. Herz says. They're diplomats and motivators who will ``change the mood'' so those around them can make changes....investigate before accepting a job. A conservative approach, says executive recruiter Rex T. Olsen of Enterchange Executive Horizons, is to look for a company where change has already begun. ``Management may say it wants change, but if nothing is going on, how can you tell?''
executive_management  movingonup  change  Hal_Lancaster  Managing_Your_Career  organizational_change  organizational_culture  organizational_design  change_agents  managing_change  executive_search 
december 2012 by jerryking
All I ever needed to know about change management - - Organization - Change Management
MAY 1997 | McKinsey Quarterly | ROGER DICKHOUT offers 5 basic
premises to help clients design organizational change programs—ideas
Dickout considers as natural laws:
(1) the law of constituent balance--change driven by an imbalance
between a company’s stakeholders: shareholders, employees, customers,
communities, & mgmt.
(2) the law of leverage. Max. the return on effort by changing those
things that will produce the greatest results/really matter.
(3) the law of momentum. Liberate the energy to drive the change. Change
is work. Work requires energy. That energy can be introduced from
outside—e.g. pressure from shareholders or new mgmt.—or the system’s own
potential energy can be transformed into kinetic energy.
(4) the law of feedback and adjustment. Learn how your organization
responds to change, and adjust the program accordingly. N.B.Change may
itself create opportunity.
(5) the law of leadership.Leadership is the scarce resource and
ultimately, the catalyst of change.
McKinsey  change_management  organizational_change  leadership  feedback  leverage  OPMA  momentum  constituencies  adjustments  return_on_effort  imbalances  what_really_matters 
april 2011 by jerryking
Understanding change in a business
The Globe and Mail. Seventy per cent of big changes in a company fail; John Kotter explains why

The Kotter model

In the 90s Harvard-professor John P. Kotter had been observing this process for almost 30 years. In his book Leading Change he argues that to make big changes significantly and effectively, there are generally eight basic things that must happen:

INSTILL A SENSE OF URGENCY. Identifying existing or potential crises or opportunities. Confronting reality, in the words of Execution-authors, Charan and Bossidy.
BUILD A GUIDING COALITION. Assembling a strong guiding coalition with enough power to lead the change effort. And make them work as a team, not a committee!
CREATE A VISION AND SUPPORTING STRATEGIES. We need a clear sense of purpose and direction. In less successful situations you generally find plans and budgets, but no vision and strategy; or the strategies are so superficial that they have no credibility.
COMMUNICATE. As many people as possible need to hear the mandate for change loud and clear, with messages sent out consistently and often. Forget the boring memos that nobody reads! Try using videos, speeches, kick-off meetings, workshops in small units, etc. Also important is the teaching of new behaviours by the example of the guiding coalition
REMOVE OBSTACLES. Get rid of anything blocking change, like bosses stuck in the old ways or lack of information systems. Encourage risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities, and actions. Empowerment is moving obstacles out of peoples' way so they can make something happen, once they've got the vision clear in their heads.
CREATE SOME QUICK WINS. This is essential for creating momentum and providing sufficient credibility to pat the hard-working people on the back and to diffuse the cynics. Remember to recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements.
KEEP ON CHANGING. After change organizations get rolling and have some wins, they don't stop there. They go back and make wave after wave of other actions necessary for long-term, significant change. Successful change leaders don't drop the sense of urgency. On top of that, they are very systematic about figuring out all of the pieces they need to have in place before they declare victory.
MAKE CHANGE STICK. The last big step is nailing big change to the floor and making sure it sticks. And the way things stick is through culture. If you can create a totally new culture around some new way of managing, it will stay. It won't live on if it is dependent on one boss or a couple of enthusiastic people who will eventually move on.

Kotter.gif

We can divide these eight steps in three main processes. The first four steps focus on de-freezing the organization. The next three steps make change happen. The last step re-freezes the organization on the next rung on the ladder.

Kotter avoids any discussion re how this high level approach ties into Project Management. Anderson & Anderson (The Change Leaders Roadmap) adopt a similar high level approach however do tie it into the lower level by adding in a lot of trad. PM items.
John_Kotter  organizational_change  change_management  eels  urgency  Communicating_&_Connecting  roadmaps  change_agents  risk-taking  obstacles  obstructionism  entrenchment  quick_wins  non-traditional  shared_consciousness  momentum  operational_tempo  project_management  action_plans 
october 2010 by jerryking
Managing Yourself: How to Save Good Ideas
September 2010 | - Harvard Business Review | An Interview with
John P. Kotter by Jeff Kehoe. Why do so many good ideas generated by
well-intentioned, talented people fail? Because the audience is
comprised of human beings with anxieties, contrary opinions, and a
constant fear of losing face....large-scale organizational change
requires helping people to communicate, bringing them around to support
your vision, your strategy, your plan—and, in a smaller sense, just your
idea. It's an important element and we’re not very good at it. Getting
buy-in for good ideas is a basic human issue; it’s a life
skill....Kotter & Whitehead, suggest in their new book, Buy-In:
Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down, a counterintuitive
approach to gaining support: “inviting in the lions” to critique the
idea....anticipate being attacked when presenting a new idea, respond
with respectful using very short, simple, clear, communications filled
with common sense.
howto  HBR  John_Kotter  persuasion  pitches  Managing_Your_Career  Communicating_&_Connecting  large-scale  organizational_change  life_skills  implementation  failure  human_factor  human_frailties 
september 2010 by jerryking
Innovation's Dirty Little Secret
June 21, 2010 | BusinessWeek | Jeneanne Rae explains that
innovation is about more than lip service. It requires genuine
commitment to corporate change.
innovation  large_companies  change  organizational_change 
june 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - Leading With Two Minds - NYTimes.com
May 6, 2010 | New York Times | By DAVID BROOKS. Five years
ago, the United States Army was one sort of organization, with a certain
mentality. Today, it is a different organization, with a different
mentality. It has been transformed in the virtual flash of an eye, and
the story of that transformation is fascinating for anybody interested
in the flow of ideas.

The process was led by these dual-consciousness people — those who could
be practitioners one month and then academic observers of themselves
the next.

It’s a wonder that more institutions aren’t set up to encourage this
sort of alternating life. Business schools do it, but most institutions
are hindered by guild customs, by tenure rules and by the tyranny of
people who can only think in one way.
David_Brooks  U.S._military  organizational_change  institutional_change  dual-consciousness  institutions  critical_thinking  strategic_thinking  U.S._Army  introspection  self-analysis  self-awareness  transformational  mindsets  idea_flows 
may 2010 by jerryking
Battle Stations - Sunoco's Peter Whatnell talks about how IT departments can help their companies succeed in tough times
Dec. 8, 2008 WSJ interview of Sunoco's Peter Whatnell by Ben
Worthen. The source of competitive advantage is knowing how IT can help
your business. You should to be able to ask any CIO: Are you able to
describe in three minutes or less how your company makes money? To me
that's where it starts. And the answer isn't "we're in retail" or "we're
in the insurance business" or "we're an oil company," because everyone
is in retail or the insurance business or is an oil company.....We have three measures when we are looking to approve a project: First, what does this project do to support the company's strategy. The second is what is the business case. And the third is around risk. One of the components we look at under risk is organizational change. The more change that a project would introduce, the more risky we consider the project. That doesn't mean that you don't do it, but the attention you give to the change-management activities has to be far higher.
information  technology  competitive_advantage  Ben_Worthen  change_management  change  Sunoco  think_threes  corporate  CIOs  IT  hard_times  value_creation  organizational_change  risk-assessment 
february 2009 by jerryking

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