Pop Quiz: How many of the original Fortune 500 companies from 1955 remain on the list today?
Answer: 71. That’s fewer than one in seven, or just 14 percent.
And as businesses are forced to compete in an increasingly digital landscape – one where disruption and globalization all but force every organization to rethink its place and competitors in the market – no business’s position in the market is safe.
Today’s digital world requires organizational agility in order to remain competitive. Agility is what enables the change of processes, speeds the delivery of new products and services, and even allows internal cultures to evolve. It is what helps an organization respond to rapidly changing marketing dynamics and, more important, address the ever-evolving demands and preferences of its customers.
In our work with global clients, we often use three organizational agility frameworks to enable this type of continuous transformation: the Built-To-Change Model; the Agility Path Framework; and the Evidence-Based Change Framework. Our paper on the topic (available for download below) explores these three common approaches to organizational change, as well as how organizations can assess the state of their business and prepare for change.
Here, we will explore the Built-To-Change model in depth and also identify several specific questions that organizations can ask to determine which framework may be best for their business.
One of the most common agility frameworks is the Built-To-Change Model, which is designed specifically for organizations that are experiencing a crisis, such as declining sales or addressing a new competitor. This model enables an organization to embrace the mantra of “continuous change is business as usual” by focusing on a series of short-term competitive advantages rather than a single sustained advantage.
For example, we instituted Built-To-Change with a large department store retailer in North America, who, after a failed “big bang” transformation, was struggling to survive. The organization was facing issues with antagonized customers and shrinking sales. To ensure that they did not fall behind the competition – or even cease to exist – we helped this company experiment with small, incremental ideas and then adopt the ones that had a significant impact on both their customers and bottom line. In a year’s time, this company was on a solid path to recovery.
The Built-to-Change model forces organizations to break away from traditional design assumptions and focus on how a solution can be designed with flexibility and scalability in mind. The model challenges organizations to embrace change and plan for it instead of around it.
Retailers must be aware that the simple introduction of a transformation strategy will not necessarily lead to success. Instead, the transformation strategy must utilize a framework that is well-suited to the organization. To perform an assessment of an organization’s capabilities, and to determine the best strategy and roadmap for utilizing an organizational agility framework, we often start by examining the organization in the following four areas:
Based on the information gathered above and our subsequent analysis of the data, we determine the agility framework that will best enable the organization to reach continuous transformation.
In assessing the organization, it’s important to remember that continuous transformation is, in many cases, a cultural shift for an organization. Companies, their leadership, and their employees must be willing to adapt, embrace innovative thinking, and react to changing consumer needs and wants by getting products and services to market in increasingly shorter timeframes. Innovation alone cannot accomplish this – a framework, such as one of those highlighted in our report – may be necessary in guiding the organization.