We’ve all heard it – the 4th industrial revolution; the singularity; the era of exponential change. All point to the same idea. The rate of technology and economic change has exceeded our capacity to keep up with it.
The common prescription to manage the change usually points to people and companies needing to become more resilient. This resilience is discussed in terms of how companies (and individuals) should embrace continual learning at the individual skill and capability level.
As well, there are many prescriptions for how to operationalize resilience. Too many, in fact. In this post I discuss an unintended consequence that could result if we’re not careful in how we approach this important part of the process.
Resilience works like a weathervane. It requires constant awareness of weak and strong signals in the environment, and points to the signal that is currently having the strongest impact on the immediate environment.
However, if we think of what happens to a weathervane in a wild storm with continuously changing wind direction, it spins constantly and doesn’t give meaningful information to help us get to where we need to go. When we think about an organizational weathervane, we can easily see the value of immediate knowledge of technology and market signals.
What’s more difficult, however, is knowing which of these signals we should respond to. It’s even more difficult, if not impossible, to align the organization to achieve its goals while chasing every latest signal.
To be most effective, we need to complement our organizational weathervane with an organizational compass. This would guide the strategic direction while allowing flexibility in how they achieve their goals. Unless organizations can learn to harness the combined power of the compass AND the weathervane, the potential for resilience to lead to chaos will increase as fast as technologies and markets change around them.
At Pearl, we work with clients to rediscover their organizational compass and to use it along with a weathervane to achieve what we call Intentional Resilience™. Once we know where we are going, and how to assess new technology and market signals, we can align the organization to embrace future challenges with increased confidence and clarity.
Contact us to learn how we enable clients to navigate with both a compass AND a weathervane.