Last week, I sat down and watched one of my all time classic flicks, Signs. This 2002 sci-fi thriller revolved around aliens invading Earth. Producer Frank Marshall explained, “It’s really about human emotions set in motion by a supernatural event.” For me, it was the perfect symbol of how people deal with unexpected change.
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the plot begins. Local priest Reverend Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) grieves over the horrific death of his wife. After the death, Hess denounces his faith and vocation. He lives with his two children and his brother Merrill, a former minor league baseball player. Hess finds a crop circle in his corn fields.
In fact, the crop circles appear all over the world. As the story progresses, the family realizes the crop circles are part of other signs that extraterrestrials are here on Earth. The plot continues to introduce change at a rapid and unpredictable pace. As you would expect, Hess and his family are overwhelmed with so many changes. Today, organizations are no less perplexed by today’s changes in the market. Change is imminent but how we deal with the shift is an uncertainty. Renowned management guru Dr. Tom Peters argues, “Nothing is predictable…The fact is that no firm can take anything in its market for granted.” All the money in the world cannot stop the forces of change.
Oil giant BP attempts to correct a major accident that government officials are calling the largest oil spill in history involving over 19,000 barrels of crude oil. The political ramifications are large as President Obama tries not to let this incident become his Katrina. Yet, rapid change can make even Superpowers look foolish. Corporations are no exception. BP executives are probably worried about their reputation (which is really about the $$$$$). Will the company become another Exxon?
Furthermore, change exists in a fluid state from easy to impossible to solve for managers. It happens in a series of irregular waves. In fact, change is a wild variable that can totally disrupt the order of things in organizations. There are two major types of change for our discussion, incremental and discontinuous. Incremental change occurs in small increments over time where organizations can prepare for it. You can forecast the future with some confidence.
Discontinuous change is unpredictable and sudden. It threatens traditional power structure because it drastically alters the way things are currently done or have been done for years. This discontinuous change can be described as turbulence like on an ocean. It becomes unsettling. Donald Sull, author of The Upside of Turbulence, notes “Turbulence, for many, equals risk, and risk equals bad news.” Joan Liebler and Charles McConnell, authors of Management Principles for Health Professionals, further warned about the issues of change: “Change is inevitable, but change can also be chaotic and painful.”
When markets shift take place, many managers rely on their corporate experience to navigate the uncertainty. Yet, their vast knowledge becomes a liability during discontinuous change due to the lack of any clear patterns in the market. Therefore, disruptive change interferes with conventional thinking of organizations?
How can contemporary organizations deal with disruptive change in ways that they can seize opportunities and stay ahead of their competitors?
© 2010 by Daryl D. Green
28 thoughts on “Change Disrupts Us”
I think one way to be prepared to confront the inevitable induction of disruptive change goes back to the old motto “Expect the best, plan for the worst”. I think it would be foolish for organizations to not have a worst-case scenario in the back of their minds with any given endeavor. Granted, BP could not have foreseen the specific technical problem they are facing now. However, it now seems as though 46 days into the problem, BP is still pitching solutions around as if they were reality TV show ideas. There should be some type of anticipation of a dilemma such as this from the ground up. Front line managers need to be able to identify the potential for such catastrophic disruptive change and be able to relay that concern back to the top managers. In reference to change, Professor Coulson-Thomas stated, “A focused, flexible, pragmatic and ‘end to end’ perspective is required.” Immediate, direct, and respected communication between all levels a management can help organizations have some type of plan for many types of disruptive change. In addition, the diversity of thought patterns and personalities can lead to better identification of problems and work to offer unique solutions.
Coulson-Thomas, C. Leading and Managing Change. J. of the Institute of Management Services. 31-37. Spring 2009.
Good points! Anticipating problems should be a given. It is not!
I think that the best way contemporary organizations can handle disruptive change is not necessarily prevent it but at least be prepared so as to lessen the potential blow. Clayton Christensen states that managers whose organizations are facing a change must figure out if they have resources, processes, and values to flourish in light of the change. I think of it as similar to those weather emergency preparedness plans we all learned in elementary school and routinely practiced for years. Everyone needed to know where to go, where first-aid kits were located, and how NOT to behave during emergencies so as to be sure everyone survived (i.e. were successful).
From a business standpoint, I think that these properties, especially resources, might be most problematic to smaller, newer firms. Because of this, smaller businesses might want to adopt a fluid strategy that Eric Abrahamson refers to as “tinkering.” Instead of an emergency plan in place initially, small changes are made periodically with periods of slightly larger-scale changes intermingled within the small changes. In this way, companies work towards achieving a “dynamic stability.” This would allow the company to stand on more solid ground and be less caught off-guard by inevitable disruptive changes.
1. Abrahamson, E. “Change without pain.” Harvard Business Review, Jul/Aug 2000: 75-80.
2. Christensen, C.M. and Overdorf, M. “Meeting the challenge of disruptive change.” Harvard Business Review, Mar/Apr 2000: 67-76.
Good observation.!!! Preparation like in elementary school during a tornado drill would reduce an organization’s risk.
But….what would the organization be preparing for?
I agree that the best way to deal with change is to be proactive and be prepared when the change occurs. However, with increase reliance on technology and the impact of globalization, change is something managers must deal with on a daily basis. Clive Sexton states, “Organizations are undergoing major changes on average every three years whilst smaller changes are occurring almost continually”. How can a company design a proactive plan for change when there is so little time between changes? Because change is such a major concern facing today’s managers and the limited time they have to devote to it, many feel the task of dealing with change should be delegated to management teams whose sole purpose is helping the company adapt to continual changes. Nevertheless, I believe it is still important for the manager to be proactive in developing plans for major changes in the company’s industry. In today’s world of constant change, the successful managers might not be the ones are best able anticipate how to deal with change, but the ones who are best able to react to change when it happens.
Sexton, Clive. “Change Management – Coping With Change”. Articlebase. April 2008.
Throughout history, major changes have determined the success or failure of many companies. One example of a failure to foresee major changes and adapt is the railroad companies. They were economic giants over two centuries but failed to see the threat posed by the introduction of other forms of transportation. This is clearly the marketing myopia described by Dr. Levitt in his seminal paper.
Change should be seen as an opportunity rather that a pitfall. Often, it affords us the opportunity to improve our process, streamline our methods to counter disruptive forces and even increase our market share. The key word for contemporary managers should be contingency planning. We should be prepared for all foreseeable eventualities and be ready to address them. A model for this is the aviation industry where pilots have an emergency checklist that addresses everything that can go wrong in addition to a clearly laid out road map. If BP had a tested and ready backup plan for a possible failure of the blowout preventer at high depths, the gulf coast disaster might have been averted altogether. But instead, we are witnessing one of the biggest environmental disasters due to a failure of imagination.
Levitt, Theodore. “Marketing Myopia”. Harvard Business Review. September – October 1975.
Organizations need to recognize the changing consumer’s needs and wants. Contemporary organizations have to address the next-generation needs of the customers. They also have to anticipate and be prepared for those changes. These organizations and their managers “must understand precisely what types of change the existing organization is capable and incapable of handling.” Organizations need to look at their strengths and values and find ways to make the disruptive change beneficial. They need to look at their positive aspects and correlate those assets to what the consumer is looking for. The organizations need to look at what resources they do have, such as people, equipment, product designs, and relationships with suppliers and distributors. With access to these resources, organizations can deal with the change in an effective manner.
Christensen, C.M., & Overdorf, M. (2000). Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change [Electronic Version]. Harvard Business Review, March-April, 1-20.
Change is an invariably necessary part of reality. This very aspect is what drives organizations to innovate and to search for better ways to serve their customers if their goal is to remain competitive. It is the company that offers the coolest or the most convenient product that often enjoys an increase in sales and customer satisfaction. However, disruptive change can be quite unsettling.
Disruptive change, as the name implies, is drastic and unexpected change that often catches companies off-guard and for which lack of preparation often leads to devastating results. Although disruptive change is often unpredictable, organizations should expect it and have plausible alternatives to manage it. The alternatives can vary, so long as the challenges are confronted and the needs are met. “When an organization needs new processes and values-because it needs new capabilities-managers must create a new organizational space where those capabilities can be developed.” Organizations can adapt to change through the creation of new organizational structures, the better utilization of external resources, and the implementation of new practices and principles which would better fit the new demands.
Christensen, C.M. and Overdorf, M. “Meeting the challenge of disruptive change.” Harvard Business Review, Mar/Apr 2000: 67-76.
Excellent comments from above!
But…let’s get a bit personal.
How do today’s physicians create organizations that identify disruptive changes and seize upon opportunities?
Louis Pasteur once said that, “Chance favors the prepared mind” I think that Pastuer’s quote is pertinent to this question of change in healthcare for physicians in that change is favorable to the prepared mind. Today’s physicians must make sure they are creating organizations that are prepared. One of the first ways is to ensure that each member of the organization is well educated and maintains the highest degree of training. As new technologies emerge and newer methods become standard, those organizations that are well educated and have an attitude of creative thinking will be more apt to handle disruptive change. Physicians must not sit back idly and wait for government leaders and regulators reform health care system and the way in which they practice medicine and conduct business. As Patricia Gabow M.D. argues that “Every organization can and should drive health care reform by creating its own system transformation and its own care model, which will not only improve access, achieve high quality and lower costs in its own health care system, but will also provide a template from which others can learn.” I think that Gabow is correct in asserting that physicians must be pro-active and set an example for policy makers. Those physicians which are pro-active and are already experienced with “outside the box thinking” will be more likely to seizure upon opportunities to out of the box disruptive changes.
1. Gabow, Patricia Transforming Care Across the Continuum. H&HN: Hospitals & Health Networks; May2010, Vol. 84 Issue 5, p57-57,
It is likely that many physicians are prone to miss the opportunities presented by disruptive change in healthcare delivery. This is no doubt due partly to primarily focusing on direct patient care rather than on the machinery that drives it. I believe most physicians are more concerned with patient outcomes and essentially try to ignore the implications of many disruptive changes such as new healthcare legislation. They seem to just carry on and hope everything will work out in the end. The AMA, AOA, and specialty associations are the closest things to existing organizations which identify disruptive changes and opportunities, but this seems to be a very minor role. There are no doubt many opprotunities resulting from disruptive change which go unnoticed by the majority of physicians. According to Beatrice Till in Her article entitled “Survival of the Fittest in an Era of Change” Feb. 2006 edition of Lifeworks Solutions resistance and fear of change must be the first obstacle overcome in the management of change. Once physicians become more cognizant of the potential hidden opportunities carried by disruptive change, healthcare as a whole will begin to benefit.
The dynamic nature of humanity is such that from time to time paradigm shifts MUST occur. The perception of change is perhaps one of those concepts in which a shift is warranted. From the single individual to groupings of people, to corporate companies, the mention of the word “change” seems to invoke feelings of dread, uncertainty and negativity. Nevertheless, when one looks at history and compares the advancement and “virtual reality” that we live in today (in the eyes of yesterday,) one can truly understand how the “winds of change” have surely made our world what it is today. This is why contemporary companies today need to start developing a new outlook to change, a paradigm shift that is. In fact, change should be regarded as opportunity, growth, adventure and indeed advancement. At the same time it should be considered to be a normal part of business. This culture should be embodied by all players in the corporate world, from management, down to the silent worker. Whilst one cannot always anticipate disruptive change, there are ways to face disruptive change. Disruptive change should be viewed as a binocular to a wider array of opportunity. Disruptive change should be anticipated, for anticipation breeds some form of preparation, even though not as specific. When it then ensues, the mindset is already present and panic and fear are overpowered by this view of a new “sea of opportunity.” Does this mean that organizations should look at their organizational structure and consider adding an individual whose main job is to keep a “close” eye on the external environment whilst the rest of the organization is going about its business? Maybe, how else can you anticipate when you don’t have a clue? Does this mean that a new breed of “change specialists” is in order? Perhaps, either way, an organization that wants to stay abreast should find some way to keep abreast of events within and without the organization. At the same time, disruptive change should not be over anticipated. Howard & Bower, in their article in the Harvard Business Review (2002) caution against over use of resources due to over anticipation of disruptive change when it does occur. This therefore means that disruptive change should be considered to be an everyday potential occurrence that should always be dealt with appropriately.
When disruptive change occurs in a contemporary organization, this organization needs to capitalize on the fact that it is and needs to be “contemporary.” When facing disruptive change, managers need not focus so much on what has worked in the past, but create additional processes that will help solve the new disruptive change. In the article Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change, managers are described as thinking “that developing a new operation means abandoning the old one and they are loathe to do so since it works perfectly for what it is designed to do. But when disruptive change appears on the horizon, managers need to assemble capabilities to confront the change before it affects the mainstream business.” I believe where companies falter in their attempts to deal with disruptive change is they either keep their old set of values or they totally conform to a new set. An example of how to use the old and contemporary demands facing a company is in Merrill Lynch, a very successful company before the expansion of the internet. It is now faced with having to deal with the demands of the on line world. The authors of this article suggest that to meet this new demand for change due to the growing use of the internet that Merrill Lynch should keep the older ways of conducting business while also creating new organizations that deal with the contemporary and changing demands. I believe that success in the face of disruptive change means adapting to the new “contemporary” demands while upholding the values and practices that have made the company successful in the first place.
Christensen, Clayton M. & Overdof, Micheal. “Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change.” Harvard Business Review, Mar/Apr 2000: 1-20.
Disruptive changes are chaotic, but as Alfred North Whitehead stated, “the art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order” (1). Essentially, he’s asking the leaders to buck up to the challenge and ride the wave. When a disruptive change in chain of command occurs, there are certain chaotic events of retaliation that can actually be expected. For instance, some of the more competitive employees might be unwilling to weather the storm if their leader is fired or if their benefits, like PTO, are cut/eliminated. These foreseeable problems come as an opportunity to prepare incentives to maintain employment; therefore your best and brightest might not defect to a rival company. Moreover, if not employees leaving, there is a major risk of productivity losses with the fear and negativity of change. Remember, “it’s not change itself that threatens, but being changed”(1) by forces or circumstances outside of your control. If an employee understands that a disruptive change will occur but can mitigate alternatives, i.e. longer lunches in lieu of PTO, maybe these losses can be offset. After all, one’s goal is to stay ahead of competitors; we can do this by minimizing certain types of predictable disruption.
Liebler and McConnell. Management Principles for Health Professionals. 5 Ed. 2007.
In the modern world change is inevitable, in order to survive and prosper a company must be aware of the changing markets, and be prepared to make innovative changes to keep pace with the new demands. If an organization is to be guided toward the optimum degree of change, it is imperative to diagnose the change environment — the magnitude of change and consequences of implementation failure–so that the appropriate leadership style can be paired with the correct environment.1 Moreover, when there is a complementary pairing of leadership styles and changing demands, the probability for leadership to learn, and for their organizations to succeed is significantly enhanced.2 The worst thing a company can do when faced with disruptive change is to point fingers, place blame, and lose their professional demeanor. Management is crucial in the success of a company faced with disruptive changes, which would include all companies at some point in time. Therefore, if the management team consists of pioneering individuals that brave the face of change wholeheartedly, the outcome will likely be positive. All members of the management teams should be considered important and treated with respect. Collaborations amongst all employees should be courteous regardless of the nature. Many times these actions will offer themselves to calming a disruptive change and allowing for a smoother transition. Change is one of the most difficult things that a business must face, however if the business fails to plan for change, they are essentially planning to fail.
1.RICHARD BOWMAN JR., “Examining Six Different Leadership Styles In Relation To Constrained Change At Winona State University,” Education, Spring, 2000
2.Conner, D. R. Leading at the edge of chaos. 1998. New York: John Wiley. p. 186
Who hasn’t heard the old adage that change is inevitable? Well, in business it certainly is true or more fitting “change or perish.” How do we change so suddenly when the market demands it, and can we even survive these changes? Eric Abrahamson says it best: “many companies change and perish. Change is so disruptive it can tear organizations apart.” To account for this, Abrahamson recommends an approach called dynamic stability. In this approach, companies should initiate a constant but minimalist incremental change that provides the necessary innovation without the shock of dramatic change. In this regard, companies can stay abreast of the market’s wares, without destroying the company from the inside out.
Abrahamson, E. (2000). Change without pain. Harvard Business Review,78(4), 75-9.
Change should always be expected. Everything changes, from the market to society. To overcome disruptive change, organizations should adopt the change and become change leaders. They shouldn’t try to resist the change, but become pro-change and redefine their position and goals. By broadening their mission, they can help overcome a disruptive change and seize opportunities to stay ahead of their competitors. Experience has a lot to do with the way an organization deals with change. Using the resources (experience, research, employer feedback) these organizations have can make the difference between success and failure.
Today’s physicians create organizations that have good research and marketing intelligence gathering as part of their healthcare practice about emerging trends and newer technologies that help overcome disruptive changes to seize upon opportunities. This allows them to be dynamic in nature and gives them a competitive edge over others.
Marcinko, David. “On Disruptive Healthcare Innovators and Financial Industry Change Agents.” Word Press, 03/22/2010. Web. 16 Jun 2010. .
Disruptive change is inevitable and in the business world, it occurs across all industries all over the world. In the medical world, change is certainly the norm. In school, we have been told numerous times by professors of how much has changed in the arena of medical knowledge since they were in school. Thus, physicians must keep up with the advances in medicine well after graduation. While we accept and realize this incremental change, disruptive change within the practice of medicine becomes more difficult for physicians. Not only have physicians recently seen disruptive change in the midst of Obamacare but on a regular basis physicians are faced with the difficulties of change caused by “disruptive technologies.” David Cohen confronts the issues of “disruptive technologies” within the field of cardiothoracic surgery. The problem that cardiothoracic surgery has encountered is that technology has allowed for most of the invasive surgeries to become obsolete. Interestingly, Cohen suggests two possible approaches: To revisit their historical roots as thoracic surgeons or completely reorganize the approach to patients with cardiac disease. Cohen’s conclusion addresses the way physicians must confront disruptive change: Physicians must “choose between adaptation and controllable change as opposed to stagnation and obsolescence.”
Cohen, David J. “Cardiothoracic surgery at a crossroads: The impact of disruptive technologic change.” Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, 2:35. August 8, 2007.
One of the best quotes I have heard is that “change is the one constant in this world.” I’m not sure who said it at this point in time, but it has made a lasting impression. I could hardly imagine the change my parents went through when they came to this country in the 1970’s from India. They left their entire family behind to have a fresh start in a land of promising futures.
When I was saddened by my grandfather passing away, my father always reminded me that nothing stays the same in this world. One could either let change disrupt them or they can welcome change and accept it. From that day forward, I tried to welcome change as best as I could.
Unfortunately, others don’t welcome change that well. There is a term called “Xenophobia,” which literally means the fear of foreigners. Mr. Stein wrote an article on TIME magazine that basically derided and insulted Indians in America. “But sometime after I left, the town became a maze of charmless Indian strip malls and housing developments. Whenever I go back, I feel what people in Arizona talk about: a sense of loss and anomie and disbelief. (Stein, 2010)” It is too bad that Mr. Stein didn’t welcome change. Though this was an incremental change in his neighborhood, he acted as if it was a discontinuous change.
From a business standpoint, contemporary organizations can deal with disruptive changes by turning them into opportunities. One way of doing this would be to anticipate these changes by proper marketing and listening to customers about their products. This way they can understand what customers want and better change their product to suit their needs. One always has to welcome change or they will only be on top short-term.
Stein, J. (2010, July 5). TIME. Retrieved July 10, 2010, from TIME: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1999416,00.html
When disruptive change occurs in a contemporary organization, the organization needs to capitalize on the fact that it is and needs to be “contemporary.” When facing disruptive change, managers need not focus so much on what has worked in the past, but create additional processes that will help solve the new disruptive change. In the article Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change, managers are described as thinking “that developing a new operation means abandoning the old one and they are loathe to do so since it works perfectly for what it is designed to do. But when disruptive change appears on the horizon, managers need to assemble capabilities to confront the change before it affects the mainstream business.” Where companies falter in their attempts to deal with disruptive change is they either keep their old set of values or totally conform to a new set. I believe that success in the face of disruptive change means adapting to the new “contemporary” demands while upholding the values and practices that have made the company successful in the first place. (revised)
Christensen, Clayton M. & Overdof, Micheal. “Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change.” Harvard Business Review, Mar/Apr 2000: 1-20.
Many firms become overwhelmed by disruptive change because they focus through “the lens of the past”.(1) In doing this, they base the future outcomes on “today’s customers, products, services, economics, and competition.” This does not provide a realistically, clear view of the future for management, especially in times of disruptive change. In order to meet the demands of disruptive change, we must focus through “the lens of possibility”.(1) As stated by Gary Hamel, “in the absence of nonlinear innovation, the destiny of the industry is your destiny.” Firms must learn to not focus on the past which forms a perceived feeling of security. By focusing on the possibilities of the future, companies will no longer have predetermined labels on everything that happens. Having pre-thought answers to customer problems will not help during unpredictable disruptive change. We must keep an open mind and learn to deal with every problem as an individual, new problem that has never been encountered previously. In order to continue operating a company effectively while avoiding disruptive change, we must “take innovative action in the present”, that is “informed by the future”.(1)
1.) “The Innovators – August 2005.” INNOVATE: Growth through Breakaway Innovation. Web. 13 July 2010. .
Firstly, organizations and their internal leaders should embrace the saying “the only thing constant in life is change”, which is true. Organizations should use their operational goals as starting points for creating a “plan B” for when something may go wrong, at any phase in executing a plan. For example, if a BP engineer had planned for the worst, there would already be an emergency back-up oil cap, and the entire fiasco would have been over a long time ago. If managers can effectively and efficiently create a “plan B”, then they will be anticipating change (which is inevitable), and preparing they now have a plan to turn this disruptive change into an opportunity. As Dr. Green has commented on Mr. Jenkins’ comment, though it may seem obvious, most organizations do not plan for disruptive change. So from an organization’s careful construction of alternate plans in case the master plan goes astray due to disruptive change, the organization is bracing itself so that it will minimize anxiety when disruptive changes occur, and increase its chances of being fruitful no matter what unexpected mishaps happen along the way.
“Anticipating Disruptive Change”. http://www.baldrige.com/criteria_strategicplanning/anticipating-disruptive-change/
Complacency is usually the culprit when businesses are undergoing the throws of disruptive change. It is the lack of foresight or the comfort derived from having a successful product launch. In contrast, many managers live by the maxim that “failure is not an option”, fact of the matter is that understanding a mistake and knowing when to cut your losses is a harder but more experienced business decision. Echoed by Mary Patt Whaley, managers and employees constantly need to do a SWOT for their company and personally to understand and predict not only what is in the near future but as individuals to know what our own Stregnths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are. This gives us the ability to better ourselves and make stronger leaders to dredge into the winds of change.
Whaley, Mary Patt, SWOT: What My Mentor Taught Me That I Will Never Forget. Wellsphere.com. 2009. July 17 2010. http://www.wellsphere.com/healthcare-industry-policy-article/swot-what-my-mentor-taught-me-that-i-ll-never-forget/898485
Unexpected change can bring peril. However, with ample preparation, change can be a welcome event. According to Doz, the more successful you become the greater risk of losing your ‘strategic agility.’ Your vision starts to become more and more tunnel-like. You just repeat the success formula without forethought. There’s not a collective responsibility for further developing the corporation. It’s not that managers in big companies can’t see disruptive changes coming. Nor do they lack resources to confront them. Christensen says what managers’ lack is a habit of thinking about their organizations’ capabilities carefully. One of the hallmarks of a great manager is the ability to identify the right person for the right job and to train employees to succeed at the jobs they’re given. Most managers assume that if each person working on a project is well matched to the job, then the organization will be, too. Often that is not the case. Organizations themselves independent of the people and other resources in them have capabilities. Managers need to be skilled not just in assessing people but also in assessing the abilities and disabilities of their organization as whole and to prepare the vision toward forecasted change.
Christensen, C. M. Harvard Business Review Case Studies, Articles, Books. Web. 16 July 2010. .
Doz, Yves. “Fast Strategy: Staying Ahead of the Game.” INSEAD Knowledge – Best of Business Research. Web. 16 July 2010. .
In an article entitled “Meeting the Challenges of Disruptive Change,” Clayton M. Christensen and Michael Overdorf state that “When disruptive change appears on the horizon, managers need to assemble the capabilities to confront that change before it affects the mainstream business. They actually need to run two businesses in tandem- one whose processes are tuned to the existing business model and another that is geared towards the new model.” Planning, which is one of the four principle managerial tasks, for the future by analyzing current trends and projecting upcoming changes is crucial in determining the success of an organization. In doing this, the company can turn the change, which is a threat for many companies, into an opportunity that could result in the formation of a competitive advantage. If a company gets too caught up in the daily operations without analyzing future forecasts, they can suffer tremendously. This is why so many larger companies spend millions of dollars each year on the R & D department. Staying one step ahead of the competitors through adequate planning and research will pay dividends for the company and its employees in the future.
Christensen, Clayton M.. Overdorf, Michael. “Meeting the Challenges of Disruptive Change.” Harvard Business Review. March-April 2000. 13 pgs.
The fact of the matter is that disruptive is going to happen. You can prepare for incremental change, but it is change that sneaks upon a corporation and brings it to its knees that one must be ready to deal with. Essentially, a company must prepare for anything. An imposing threat, a declining market share, or maybe some random freak of nature. Who knows? Any good organization will prepare for and be ready when such a disruption occurs. Not that such travesty can be prevented, but rather dealt with appropriately when it does come. Chistensen and Michael Overdorf reveal how important it is to select the right team of individuals who will organize and implement strategies for dealing with any conceivable problem. The key is anticipation, but when anticipation fails, be ready to take apart the problem systematically. Remaining cool, calm and collected during such times gives the organization an edge over other corporations suffering similar changes.
Harvard Business Review: hbr.org/product/christensen-on-disruptive-change/an/14818-PDF-ENG
As the blog states, disruptive change is something that modern companies cannot avoid or expect. In all my years on this Earth one of the advice was, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.” In the modern age, companies exist in a world of rapid change. The globalization virtually all markets means that change, and often disruptive change, will come more rapidly and without warning. Recent studies show that almost 70% of companies worldwide claim that they have experienced disruptive change and 80% claim that this change is speeding up (1). Firms of today must make the necessary changes that ensure they will meet these changes with the efficiency and appropriateness that will keep them ahead of their competitors and propel them successfully into the future. In his article in the Harvard Business Review, Clayton Christensen describes that large, established companies handle turbulent change more difficultly than smaller companies. Smaller companies depend and maintain their focus on their resources: the human capital, money, and technology. This type of focus allows for a great deal of adaptability and it is this that will enable companies to deal with disruptive change.
1. Christensen, Clayton M.; Overdorf, Michael. Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change. Harvard Business Review, Mar/Apr2000, Vol. 78 Issue 2, p66-76
All organization, no matter the size and service provided should expect the worst and scan their environment with anticipation of the worst case scenario.
We learned that changes come in different forms and organization that has a well put together contingency plan might withstand and overcome the punishment any change brings forth. Gillette, the leading razor company dominated holding over 80% of the market share for many years. The company unchallenged for many years would seem to forget the concept of competition because right under their nose Schick stole a major portion of the market unexpectedly by the introduction of Quattro; the world’s first four-blade razor says Richard Daft and Dorothy Marcic in their book titled, Understanding Management. If Gillette was well prepared and scanned their environment continuously they would have learned about Schick’s plan. Upon learning their plan Gillett might have attempted to sabotage Schick’s test sites for Quattro and stay ahead of Schick. Another way Gillette could have kept a hold of its market share is by introducing same or similar product that would compete with Schick’s new product.
Daft, Richard L., and Dorothy Marcic. Understanding Management. Fort Worth: Harcourt College, 2001.