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How Can Organizations Stay Adaptable and Nimble While Focusing on Growth?

Posted by on January 23, 2014

There’s an interesting paradox that organizations are faced with. On the one hand they realize that the rate of change around the world of work (and the world in general) is increasing and on the other hand they are focusing on growth. In order to remain competitive organizations must be nimble, adaptable, and agile yet by focusing on growth they make themselves more complex and slower; so therein lies the problem. Why are organizations focusing on things they know will make them slower and more complex when they know they need to be more nimble and adaptable? The analogy I like to use is trying to lose weight by eating more calories a day; an impossible task.

I see three scenarios which can play out:

Too profitable to fail

Organizations get so profitable, have so many assets and customers, and have so much money that nothing short of a world apocalypse can bring them down. This is certainly possible for some companies.

Smaller organizations replace larger ones

We have seen amazing disruption from smaller but rapidly rising organizations. Look at Box, Netflix, Uber, Square, and many others which are challenging established organizations and industries. This trend will continue until larger organizations keep getting displaced or they attempt to acquire their smaller counterparts.

Larger organizations split into more manageable pieces

How big can an organization realistically get and how scalable and manageable can that growth be? One option is for organizations to start breaking off into smaller pieces instead of putting more pieces together to form a giant mass.

I discuss all of these ideas and more in the video below.

So what is the future going to look like?  That’s a good question and it’s certainly not easy to predict the answer but we do know what’s right in front of us. Change is happening faster and the larger the organization (in most cases) the longer it takes and the harder it becomes to adapt to change.

What’s your take?

  • Anyway you take as an organization you have to build teams that are specialised on each and everyone aspect of your business. You need it to make work happen properly. To delegate work and make everyone work towards the same goal.

  • This has three interesting takes on how organizations will adapt to change. In Behavioral Health and Human Services Organizations, the trend seems to be moving toward smaller organizations merging into a larger agency to reduce costs and serve more people.

    • Hi Toni, thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. Interesting to hear about the trend you are seeing. There’s nothing wrong with having larger organizations provided that they can keep adapting while connecting and engaging their people. I don;t think there is a one size fits all approach to any company or industry.

  • carl mason

    Great article, I think all companies now need to adapt to the changing face of business…