Making 'Cents' of the Shifting Business Landscape

Making 'Cents' of the Shifting Business Landscape

Posted on February 03, 2012 0 Comments

Last fall we collaborated with the Economist Intelligence Unit to look at how companies around the world are responding to the rapidly increasing pace of change in business. While I touched on some of the early quantitative results in a post for The Business Insider in September, the Economist researchers recently released some compelling qualitative data that shines a light on the ways organizations are tackling operational responsiveness.


A few key points caught my attention:

  • Leaders need to be willing to conceive multiple futures and embrace uncertainty

“Companies need leaders who are tolerant of ambiguity and who can make others feel comfortable about that. They have to instill confidence in their teams that they are making the right decisions, even though it’s not clear how the future will evolve.” – Lowell Bryan, McKinsey

  • Executives should listen to messages from the frontline

“One of the most powerful sources of information about emerging adaptive opportunities and pressures lies at the frontline. Employees who interact with customers are always the first to get the clues and early warning signs about new sources of opportunity or competition.”

–      Ronald Heifetz, co-founder of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government

  • Cultures will need to adapt

“Most people have a bias towards the status quo, so when they are faced with a disruptive opportunity or threat, they see it as a virus they want to kill.”

-       Hal Gregersen of INSEAD

  • Setting up a new division can be an effective way of managing disruptive change

“Setting up a separate unit with its own P&L and management allows that unit to focus on the breakthrough disruptive change, while the old unit can be shrunk down and moved to a space in which it can survive.”

-       Clark Gilbert, president and CEO of Deseret News and Deseret Digital, and a former professor at Harvard Business School


I encourage you to take a look at the Economist Intelligence Unit’s full report, Game Changer to hear more from these leaders and explore how you can affect change, stay ahead of competition and drive your bottom line.

And for those of you interested in more on the quantitative data, check out this infographic:


John Bates

View all posts from John Bates on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.


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