3 strategies to navigate through a crowded and uncertain future
November 18, 2014
The world is changing fast! The business landscape has gotten more crowded; with margins becoming thinner. Conditions are evolving faster and faster and it seems that what was novel yesterday is already becoming outdated tomorrow! In an environment of such relentless pace, how should one organise one’s business to catch the next wave? In this article, we take a look at three strategies that you can take to transit the crowded and evolving business space.
Buying the Future
Unless you have all the resources in the world to play a current and future-state game simultaneously, this is the strategy where you are required to deliberately cut back on your current production capabilities to plough resources into building the next wave. This entails you moving talent away from current work to future work, giving them the tools to make the future happen. This is an incremental model where you slowly move from today’s products and services to tomorrow’s. This strategy will work if your economic environment is relatively stable and the foreseeable change is in itself incremental. This might not work too well when things are moving at break-neck speed.
Just as in the battle tactic, where a smaller, disruptive squad takes on a larger force, this strategy requires that you break your current, centrally controlled structure into smaller, more nimble business units. You then give them limited resources and a mandate to disrupt the market. They will then move out as self-organising, self-reinforcing teams that sustain themselves in the marketplace. This strategy is good only if you have highly trained teams. If not all the members, then at least the key leaders of each team. But know that this strategy cannot be sustained for long. When there are successes, teams need to come together, recombine resources and take on a more concerted thrust into market development.
A Ship of “Fools”
The ship of fools is not made up of fools per se, quite the contrary. Sailing on board is a troop of nimble minded business leaders who admit that they don’t know what they don’t know, and hence go out to the market with new hypotheses to test. In contrast to the guerillas who look for market disruptions, these “fools” look for incremental innovation from a customer experience standpoint. By identifying what’s wrong with their services and then finding ways to make them better, the “fools” adopt a “fail fast, fail cheap” mentality. They are not afraid to say, “I don’t know” and go out to the market to find the answer. While the Ship of Fools strategy seems similar to the Buying the Future strategy, they differ in the way they conduct their future market work. The fools base their innovations on what they have; the Buyers base theirs on a totally new premise.
So there we are, three strategies to help you navigate a crowded and uncertain future. Of course strategy is one thing; more importantly is how to make it happen. And that is where the proof of the pudding really lies. If you need help in enabling your strategy, drop us a line at email@example.com.
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