Change is painful. But the alternative — delaying necessary change — is ultimately much more painful.
This, in a nutshell, is why strategic transformation is both crucial and challenging. Over my years as executive and consultant, I worked with big organizations to anticipate and benefit from major external changes. Nearly two decades ago I published a few pieces (see here and here) which discussed how companies could redefine themselves in light of market forces.
If anything, these forces — primarily technological change, globalization, and economic dislocation — have only intensified in subsequent years; and I have works with many executive teams to define, evaluate, and prioritize options for capturing competitive advantage in the face of environmental change. For example:
Scroll down to see lists of select relevant strategy projects for each of the three topics
The challenge for the strategy professional lies not in recognizing or projecting trends and forces — that’s the easy part — but in building the “case for change” and mobilizing an otherwise successful organization to take preemptive action.
The challenge of driving organizations to be proactive was paramount in my strategy work, that I designed a Stanford class around it: Crisis and Renewal. And, not surprisingly, my current consulting work — M&A transaction integration — hinges on planning and coordinating proactive, sometime painful change before it’s too late.
Technology Change Projects:
- Technology standards simplifying outsourcing (the Extended Enterprise)
- Complex chip wiring design presenting manufacturing yield challenges and requiring factory integration
- Shift to large substrate manufacturing changes equipment supplier economics (higher investment, lower income)
- Y2K and telecom capacity buildup opening internet and mobile opportunities
- Technological limits on transistor and interconnect miniaturization causing a slow-down in semiconductor innovation
- Web 2.0 and cloud technologies redefining the publishing industry
Economic Change Projects:
- End of Cold War causing slow-down in aerospace demand
- Windows/Intel standard driving explosion of PC sales
- Investment/valuation cycles creating business acquisition opportunities
- Limitations on semiconductor content in electronic systems driving slow-down in chip industry growth
- Rising price of fossil fuels (due to supply-demand imbalance) opening opportunity for clean energy
- Shift from PC’s to mobile devices changing profit levels across the electronics food chain
- Geopolitical changes simplifying the management of global enterprises
- Migration of heavy manufacturing and circuit card assembly to Asia
- Changing global trade patterns opening opportunities for new aircraft models
- Migration of chip fabrication to Japan -> Korea -> Taiwan -> mainland China
- Global overinvestment dynamics (e.g., Asian Financial Crisis)
- Global terrorism
- Shift of software engineering to India and Vietnam