How closely are you watching the relevance of your organization? How often do you take a look at your assumptions to see if they still line up with the outside world? In an earlier post I referred to a strategic principle from a very helpful HBR article, When Growth Stalls, noting that, "Leaders must bring the underlying assumptions that drive company
strategy into line with the changes in the external environment."
Can you think of an assumption in your organization that would be worth examining to see if it is out-of-alignment with the external environment? (Now, as I noted in the earlier post, this is not the same as compromising on underlying principles.) Need an example? In the early years at Willow Creek Community Church weekend services included only a single song that the congregation sang and it was a song that tended to be about God as opposed to singing to God. Why was that their strategy? "Seekers" in the 70s and 80s were more influenced by a propositional method. It's not like that now at Willow. Why the change? Determined to remain relevant and not miss the future, their leadership took a fresh look at their assumptions and concluded that today's seekers need to participate in an experience, as opposed to simply observing one.
Ever taken the initiative to reexamine your organization's assumptions? It's an essential practice if you don't want to miss the future. Why doesn't it happen more often? I think Gary Hamel has it right:
"Companies miss the future when top management's intellectual capital depreciates faster than its authority. Indeed, I believe that a misalignment between power and perspicuity is the most frequent and deadliest cause of strategic maladaptation. Analyze a company behind the curve, and you will invariably find an organization where senior management has retained its influence but lost its foresight (p. 204, The Future of Management).
Got any strategic maladaptation going on in your organization?