Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Marketing Leaders Must Embrace Change

Like the laws governing the rate of acceleration of falling bodies, the dynamics of society and business affairs tend also to be subject to accelerating forces demanding ever more responsive and fast-changing, commercial organizations. If there is an essential theory that must pervade a modern organization, it is that success requires the ability to quickly master revolutionary change.

This demands the dramatic and dynamic challenge of what is often referred to as the creative destruction and the rapid rebuilding of an organization in order to improve it - and to be willing to do so repeatedly.

For organizations to consistently win over time, internal revolution (not evolution) must be driven by leaders and managers with the ideas, the heart, and the will to continuously respond to an ever-growing number of new opportunities. To stay alive, an organization must adopt life-sustaining change as its way of life. Of course, not all change is improvement, but without change an organization cannot improve itself.

Similarly, without the ability and desire to respond to new opportunities, or better still, creating products and services that create new opportunities, an organization can neither survive over time, nor thrive in its current time. There is little doubt that the revolutionary changes usually needed to properly respond to new opportunities can be painful, and risky. Nor is there little doubt that the conserving forces within an organization will tend to resist the potential pain and risk that such dramatic change demands.

Leaders Needed

In all facets of life, including business affairs, one must master change. Faced with increasingly difficult, demanding, large, and frequent mega-shifts in worldwide economies, societies, technologies, marketplaces and competitive forces, organizations need leaders and managers at every level and throughout all aspects and functions who can optimally redirect an organization's emotional and economic energies and resources.

Throughout every organization, its leaders and managers must be willing, if not eager, to repeatedly let go of the tried and true established ideas and ways of doing things and quickly adopt newer and better ones. And, its leaders and managers must be able to encourage, to guide and to help each and every member of the organization to generate the very high levels of positive energy and commitment needed to do the same. As the monkey swinging through the trees of the forest must let go of the trailing but then still supporting branch as it grasps the next branch forward, so too must all members of a modern organization be eagerly grasping upon the next great opportunity as it moves rapidly forward, and willingly letting go of the old as it progresses.

For us, today's economic life is one of constant change. And these changes, while individually often seem to happen little by little, collectively they occur at such a great rate of speed that, in very short time, very great shifts in the organization have occurred.

Sometimes before we have realized what is happening, it has already happened. If, at every level, people are not constantly noting and thinking about the possibilities latent within seemingly small changes, by the time the cumulative effect of these is realized by those at the top of an organization, it is usually too late. No organization can rely solely on leadership from the top.

Leaders and managers at every level must realize that an organization will survive and thrive only through change. No matter what its situation, an organization's managers and leaders, at every level, can improve the organization and its competitive performance only if individually and collectively they can do an ever better job of generating new ideas, instilling better values, creating more positive energy, making tough decisions, and having the courage of their commitments to implement both incremental improvements, and to also gain quantum leaps forward as well. In today's organizations, everyone must contribute to the collective knowledge for us to achieve.

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