Dynamic Management

Lean deployment creates a framework that makes clear how resources translate into something for which customers are willing to pay   

The economic turmoil of 2008 didn’t just create uncertainty for business leaders over the direction of the global economy; it brought about the realization that a constantly evolving, unpredictable and more complex environment would likely be a permanent part of the landscape. Given that, companies are coming to the realization that a different management approach from the past is needed.

Rather than the conventional path to strategy planning that places emphasis on analysis and adherence to plan, leaders are recognizing that a flexible and fluid avenue would enable a more effective response to change. An approach that would infuse discovery and exploitation of new business models through experimentation and learning could provide a fresh way to examine their options, and open pathways to unique opportunities. In short, a method that is “discovery-driven” rather than analytical.

Leaders know how to analyze their situations under uncertainty through quantitative techniques and activities like scenario planning.  But the challenge is this: coping with change and ambiguity requires more than analysis. Under conditions where decision factors are less clear and customer requirements can evolve with change in their markets, the importance of making decisions when the time is right is greater, as is the need to have them coincide with customer expectations.

Recently some company executives have been implementing experiments involving shorter financial planning cycles under the light of awareness that competitive advantage will need to be more fluid and dynamic.

However for many, achieving truly dynamic management may be elusive if companies do not have a mechanism to get senior leaders working together in a fundamentally different way. What is needed is a framework that facilitates a common language among functions and through which the capabilities can be built to surface critical issues early so as to provide time to review, debate and respond appropriately to the shifting landscape.

Some ideas that may be worthy of consideration are these:

Focus on pivotal roles
In most cases, today’s market environment is too complex for one person to lead an organization alone, no matter how talented that individual may be. Therefore designing a leadership team so that they can help steer the ship in response to changing conditions is a significant challenge for many organizations. One of the roadblocks to team effectiveness is a lack of enterprise-wide perspective. Team members should have both a mechanism to facilitate collaboration, but also the inherent mental models to view issues holistically.

An outside in, rather than an inside-out focus               
Feedback and continuous learning -- today business models cannot be fully anticipated in advance               
An appreciation of the dynamism of competitive advantage           
An understanding that strategy itself is quite frequently discovery driven rather than planning oriented [*]

* Ruth Gunther McGrath

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