In our last blog post, we argued that a “digital transformation” being experienced across nearly every sector is thrusting us into a new era of complexity. Large companies are failing to adapt. They are dying earlier and faster than ever before. And their failure to adapt could come at a profound detriment to society.
What is next to fall?
The talent barrier is already coming down. In the past, companies offered workers a straightforward bargain: give up what you want to do to do what we want you to do, and in exchange we will give you full-time employment, a title, and a hierarchy. Trade freedom for predictability.
Last June, John Chambers, former Cisco CEO, proposed that “soon you’ll see huge companies with just two employees – the CEO and CIO.” The concept seems crazy now, but tangible evidence suggests we are moving toward such a future, faster than you might think. As with every major transition, this one will create losers and winners, thinkers (who hold on to outdated concepts) and outthinkers (who embrace the new).
It’s happening weekly now. Someone – a client, reader, expert I am interviewing for my next book – mentions the need for a more agile approach to strategy, an approach that allows us to react more quickly to unexpected opportunities and threats.
Confucius, when asked about leadership, likened people to grass and the ruler to wind: whichever way the wind blows so will bend the grass.
You know you are an entrepreneur at heart, but you find yourself working inside a large organization. How do you cope?
After putting the kids to bed, my wife and I often have a quick light supper and then jump on the phone – my wife managing her team in Singapore or India, and I with a client in Australia.
We are not alone.
Serial entrepreneur Bernee Strom has built a career thinking ahead in fast-moving markets, from electronics to television. She has served or is serving on the boards of companies like Benchmark Electronics, Hughes Electronics/ DirectTV, and Polaroid and is now the Chairman & CEO of WebTuner (www.webtuner.tv), a company that may transform how we access TV. So when we got chance to ask her how she does it, we jumped. Here is what she she had to say.
Inspiration breeds innovation. Great business leaders not only disregard the status quo for higher standards, but they routinely encourage their employees and team members to do so as well. They promote, rather than punish, innovative thinking and transform their workplaces into inspired incubators of fresh ideas and insights. This type of leadership ensures that top employees feel challenged and valued, which translates into tangible value for the company.
Summary: Sometimes starting at the end can be the best way to turn around a company that’s no longer thriving. Skullcandy’s CEO explains how it worked for them.
The experts agree. Step three in a corporate turnaround involves the painful but necessary “emergency action plan.” Skullcandy (www.skullcandy.com) is ignoring this advice … and it’s working.