Where is Your Company on the Transformation Curve?

A recent article over on strategy+business on why it makes sense to adjust did a great job of outlining why business transformation needs to be a continuous process. Now that operating in a more volatile, less predictable environment has become a way of life, companies must be ready to repeatedly transform themselves. If the company can not respond to new challenges with a broad-based, enduring plan , it may soon be left in the dust by its competitors.

But most companies can’t do this, because they don’t have an adequately proactive road map for transformation. Instead, they attempt change on the fly, reacting to business disruption with equally explosive responses that may not be useful six months down the road or even sooner. On the transformation curve, they are stuck at the bottom in the reactive stage, when they need to be at the top of the curve in the sense-and-adjust stage.

A company that is reactive employs minimal seat-of-the-pants transformation strategies with little cross-company coordination or follow-up. Such strategies are not only limited, but unsustainable.

A company that moves up the curve becomes programmatic and takes more comprehensive approaches when major changes are required and the company has sufficient lead time. These approaches include thought-out widespread change initiatives across the lines of business that are most affected. Such programs — that include tactics, milestones, and executive assignments — can be quite effective in dealing with contained threats, such as new competitors or new rival products, but fall apart when the threats are not contained and well understood in advance.

But a company that reaches the top of the curve is able to sense-and-adjust. This continuous long-term strategy allows a company to constantly and consistently smooth out volatility in areas of business subject to swift and dramatic change. This is important in turbulent times.

And very important if a company is to have a successful supply chain, which not only has to deal with a tumultuous and unpredictable market, but also has to deal with risks of every colour and flavour, which pop into existence when and where they are least expected. Does your company sense and adjust? Is your supply chain ready?

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