Organizing to be adaptive as a competitive advantage

Natural law says that the ability to adapt and evolve are the keys to survival. In today’s business with technologies disrupting the environment, this has become even more obvious.

Inability to adapt fast enough has for ever changed the viability of many newspapers and magazines. An internet start-up like TMZ has completely changed People Magazine’s status within the market place. Netflix continues to disrupt the market for Comcast and Dish Networks. The iPad and other tablets are shaking up Microsoft’s business model.

Executives now need to organize around the ability to change and adapt. Many company executives see the trends turning against their companies, but still cannot course correct because of the way they are organized — bureaucratic systems that protect the status quo.

I’ve had various instances in my executive career trying to course correct the company’s vision. Moving people in a different, unfamiliar direction is not easy. The message for the need for change has to be clear. Some level of management/personnel changes need to be made to lend credibility to the message. The new direction has to be compelling. There also needs to be a clear way of keeping a scorecard on the changes that is visible throughout the organization.

The fast changes in the business environment is only going to be accelerated. Make your organization’s ability to adapt quickly into one of your strategic advantages.