Dancing with Disruption Newsletter: May 2016

Exploring Your Melt-Rate

How can we gauge our relevance going forward in the Age of Disruption? How can we quickly determine if significant change is necessary? What are a few key questions we would be wise to ask? 

Consider the case of the trillion-dollar US food industry. As more and more shoppers opt for fresh, organic choices, the top 25 U.S. food and beverage companies market share continues to decline year after year. It seems their fundamental existence is being challenged.
A savvy industry analyst summed it up best: “These big food companies are like melting icebergs. Every year they become a little less relevant.” Wow. Melting icebergs. The question now is whether these large companies are willing to confront the brutal facts and pursue reinvention and significant change.
In today’s tumultuous and global economy, we all need to reflect on our current and future competitiveness. We can do that by asking four “confront the brutal fact” questions that we highlight in chapter one of our upcoming book, Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption:

  1. Melt-Rate: Is my professional or organizational iceberg melting? If so, at what rate? And why?
  2. Relevance Trend: Are my organization and I continuing to increase in relevance in the eyes of customers and stakeholders? If not, why?
  3. Adding Value: Are my organization and I continually adding value to our products from our customer’s point of view? Am I engaged in vital work that adds value to the customer?
  4. Internal vs. External Change: Is my organization’s internal rate of change faster than the rate of change in the external environment? Am I learning faster as a professional than the creation of new knowledge in my external environment?

Although these questions are somewhat metaphorical in nature, they can spur deep insight into our ability to successfully compete now and in the future. If we avoid asking strategic questions such as these, we risk sliding into irrelevance and launching squarely onto the path of failure.
We recently worked with a Middle Eastern bank that was heavily regulated and generously subsidized by the government. Surely, we thought, this bank and this country would be the last to experience uncomfortable global disruption. But we were wrong.
We found the senior leadership team eager to learn how to reinvent professionally and organizationally. They were genuinely excited to learn about the reinvention frameworks, models and tools we presented.
This experience taught us that the capability to pivot and reinvent quickly when disruptive global shockwaves appear is needed in virtually every nook and cranny throughout the world. There seems to be an increasing need to “confront the brutal facts” and ask the four questions more often and in more proactively ways.
Whether it is asking the questions we list above, or others that work best for you, we challenge all individuals, teams, organizations, and societies to proactively ask profound, self-reflective questions in an attempt to boldly succeed in today’s global economy.

Becky Schrumm

Boston, MA