Shapeshifting Your Business With Technology, People And Strategy

Author

Daniel Newman

June 22, 2016

Never before have businesses and technology enjoyed such a symbiotic relationship. In today’s world, a technology change can shake up a company as much as a market shift. Your enterprise must stay agile to be successful, and it achieves agility in three ways: readily adopting new technologies, recruiting people who are willing to pivot, and developing strategies in real time.

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Don’t Fall Behind The Technology Curve

The buzzword for the 20th century was efficiency. From the moment Henry Ford invented the assembly line, our country became obsessed with how to achieve maximum efficiency at minimal cost. But as technology replaced workers and consumers became increasingly disillusioned with modern business models, being successful became more about pivoting in the direction markets are facing. Success today is all about dexterity.

And an essential tenet of this dexterity is staying up to date with the latest technology. I’ve discussed the complicated relationship between technology and strategy during digital transformations before, but once you’re there, keeping up is crucial.

Modern businesses can’t afford to be technology laggards. The move rental chain, Blockbuster, is a perfect example. It saw a looming threat in Netflix, but by the time it adopted its own streaming service, the damage was done. In this case, catching up with the latest technology wasn’t enough.

Bridging the gap between today’s technology and tomorrow’s innovations is essential to transitioning seamlessly. Businesses tend to invest in technology every five years, but they must constantly be on the lookout for new innovations. Staying abreast of the latest trends allows a business to pivot before competitors can react.

Create a Fluid Organization With People

Technology doesn’t drive success: people using technology do. People who thrive in agile business environments are the engine; finding and keeping that talent your commercial fuel.

How do you hire and retain flexible talent? The short answer: company culture. This may seem paradoxical because your company’s culture is a fairly stable component; it takes a long time to build a healthy culture, and even longer to change it. Your core capabilities, your human capital, your market niche—these don’t pivot easily. But a key characteristic of agile companies is their ability to attract talent.

You can’t talk about recruiting flexible people without mentioning your system of governance. We sometimes operate on the erroneous belief that this only applies to high-tech industries, but agility is a top-down process—and even the most traditional industries benefit from a little shapeshifting.

Skip The 10-Year Plan

In interviews, we’re often asked about our 5- to 10-year plans. In business, that model is becoming less relevant than ever. The future of business? Real-time data and analysis for constant course correction. Achieving agility requires taking a hard look at your organizational approach. In business, we’re often boxed in by our top-down strategy: top-level executives make goals that are realized in a downward process in the value chain. But agile companies tend to distribute key performance metrics across all levels of the value chain. Team-based targets, regular performance discussions, and peer reviews all play a role in improving your company’s dexterity.

Focus less on what your enterprise hopes to accomplish in the future and more on what’s right in front of you. By maximizing your agility through key performance indicators, you’re creating a more stable tomorrow.

Business Shapeshifting: The Structure Of The Future

All these ideas must be developed in real-time. Flexible businesses are better positioned to keep up with the rate of change in technology and markets. Success in technology adoption, talent recruitment and retention, and strategy development creates agile companies. Craft an organizational culture that encourages adaptation through distributed decision-making and to-the-minute integration. Enterprises can no longer afford to think only in terms of efficiency and the 10-year plan. The new business model relies on fluidity: a company poised to pivot is one that’s best prepared for the future.

This article was written by Daniel Newman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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