To Re-invent Your Company, Reinvent Yourself
By Scott D. Anthony, Michael Putz
As if the non-stop economic challenges of the past two years weren't bad enough, a hidden crisis is beginning to emerge from the economic rubble of 2007-2008: Corporate leaders have to deal with a challenge for which they are completely unprepared.
Companies are increasingly recognizing that today's turbulent times require nothing short of continual reinvention. Weathering today's storm isn't enough. Companies need to develop repeatable processes that regularly renew their firms before the next crisis hits. This kind of renewal must begin with the leaders themselves.
For generations, the United States had a culture that supported entrepreneurialism and the creation of new growth businesses. Silicon Valley was the embodiment of this culture. Today, individuals and the companies that house them must develop this ability.
Companies need to build a "dual core” culture that excels at building new growth businesses while harnessing the full potential of existing businesses. It's a tough challenge. Consider the seemingly paradoxical demands this challenge places on leaders' plates:
- I must focus on running operations with laser-like precision without stifling creativity.
- I am valued today for my big, existing businesses, but today's small businesses are critical for long-term success.
- Attention to detail and focus on numbers has allowed me to progress in my career, but too much detail- or number-orientation can crowd out innovation.
- I must leverage current capabilities to win in today's markets, and forget many of these capabilities to win in tomorrow's markets.
These challenges call into mind the old words of F. Scott Fitzgerald: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the same mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."