Is the Pace of Change Faster on the Outside of your Organization than the Inside?

Is the Pace of Change Faster on the Outside of your Organization than the Inside?

Is your organization rolling around at the speed of stop? Many find that the speed of change inside their walls is WAY slower than the speed outside their walls. And that’s the problem that David and Justin tackle in this episode. Here are the notes from today’s show.

  • Dave is a 4th generation entrepreneur and he’s seen how those that have come before him have dealt with the pace of change
  • Duality of human nature as it relates to change:
    • Humans seem to be both very adaptable as well as deathly afraid of change (at least in aggregate)
    • Theologically, many may interpret the biblical narrative in such a way that they see the creative intent was for an unchanging utopian environment; but that doesn’t seem to be the case as God has always been creating and things have always been changing
    • What we know for sure in this world we live in is that the only “constant is change”
  • “Change” is changing. One of the largest forces that influences all business people today is change. In my life time change started as something that was to be avoided if possible. Then, change indicatives came along but they had to be signed off by many people in the organization. Next came the urgency for vision and leadership to change through strategy and operational processes.
  • We did an earlier podcast on organizational change and I’d like to bring several topics back to the foreground
    • Why: Globalization brought about by advances in infrastructure (roads, transportation, logistics systems) as well as digital networking that allows human knowledge to double every year (soon it’ll double every 12 hours). In addition, humanity seems to be evolving in a direction whereby we are more efficient in “moving” things across the Earth: people, capital, information, goods/services, trade agreements. Curious about that last phenomenon? See Design in Nature by Bejan/Zane.
    • New approaches to dealing with change are arising: agile & lean methodologies instead of rigid planning approaches
    • The underlying philosophy of strategy has changed due to the increasing pace of change – it’s not about being “right”, it’s about failing fast and learning in order to optimize within the changing landscape
  • Three tips for dealing with increasing pace of change:
    • Structure
    • Tools
    • Philosophy
  • Metaphor of the body makes so much sense. Our hairs on our skin goosebumps when it is cold, and stimulate sweat when it is hot. Our eyes adjust quickly to light and darkness. Our reflexes all over our body react quickly when outside conditions change dramatically such they could injure us badly. Likewise, companies in this environment may need to change the way they sell products (Toms shoes), way they market to the world (US Army over decades), the products and services they offer (IBM moving from primarily hardware to a solution provider consultancy today) the capabilities they have developed (UPS adding logistics capabilities to their core delivery business) or even their vision (Apple multiple times).
  • It’s interesting how quickly the apostles and Jesus would change their approach to people as they encountered them along the way. Paul writes a letter to Rome, the capital, that is an intellectual treatise and also write a letter to the Thessalonians that is very pastoral and caring. The gospel writers structured the material they were using to tell the story of Jesus so that their audience (Matthew to Jewish ears, Luke to gentile ears). The very nature of being a living system requires that change is normal, rather than seen as a problem, a crises, or even a disaster.

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