Thursday, 8 February 2018

"Idea" Your Way to Sustainability and Self Disruption

“We need a new strategy, or at least we need to review our strategy to ensure it remains relevant”.

How often have you heard this?

Have you ever known a change of Senior Leader not being followed by a new (so called) strategy?

I have often been amused to witness the overnight discrediting of the direction a business is heading on a change of Leader/Manager.

Equally, I have been an interested observer as the new Leader/Manager seeks to replicate much or all of the environment from where they came including recruiting former colleagues. 

A new Leader/Manager is the perfect opportunity for the introduction of new ideas. The problem is, all too often is ends up being a duplication or re-cycling of old ideas from another place.

In addition, the so called “New Strategy” is often no more than a re-shuffle of the organisation chart in order to deliver much the same or similar service or product in much the same way, just supervised differently.

It is a little harsh to call it all “smoke and mirrors”, but only a little.

Ideas are important as is the discussion, debate and testing of ideas. An idea is just as valuable when it is not taken up as it is when it is as long as it is debated and tested. I say this because without the “dismissed” idea, it is impossible to stress test the existing operation of strategy.

So much of our so called strategic discussions are taken up talking about events. These may be events that have occurred and we want to ensure never do again or they may be imaginary events that we seek to mitigate against. Operational or Strategic?

The second area where strategic thinking time is invested is discussing people, where they fit, what they have to offer and what we need to do in order to “fit them in” or “manage them out”.

Very little of Corporate Strategic Development time and energy is devoted to the discussion of ideas. Any talk about an idea is kept to a small group and all too often, a cohort of one.

Ideas are risky, valuable, important but often discouraged, easily dismissed or simply ignored.

A healthy, energetic, sustainably successful and engaged work environment will include a culture where ideas can be raised and discussed without fear of rejection, retaliation, jealousy or the the threat to fragile egos.

Ideas disrupt industries, businesses and business models. 

However, it must surely to better to "Self Disrupt" than have an outside force provide the disruption.

Consider the taxi industry. I am sure it would have rather had the means of review, idea generation, re-invention and self-disruption than be subjected to the force that is Uber.

In the words attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt:

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