Organizational Transformation

The key idea that separates the well performing companies from the not-so-great ones is in how effectively they embrace and respond to change. As economies globalize, new technologies decimate the old “status quo” approach, and companies continue to shed non-core assets in favor of outsourcing those services, we see that sustainable business success comes down to basic agility to respond to challenges and to reconfigure aspects of the business in real-time. And that equates to becoming excellent at managing change. In the section below you’ll find links to articles and documents that shed important light on understanding the core principles of managing change effectively in an organization.

Fight the Nine Symptoms of Corporate Decline (HBR blog, Dec-2012). Short article by Rosabeth Moss Kanter examining some classical symptoms for helping to diagnose the level of corporate decline you may be suffering.

The Right Role for Top Teams (strategy+business, May-2012, 12 page downloadable PDF). Analysis of informal networks offers a potent leadership model for the C-suite: Make top teams the hub of the enterprise, and watch performance improve.

It makes sense to Adjust (strategy+business, Summer 2010, 5 page downloadable PDF) The argument made in this short article is that with the increasing level of volatility that all organizations are experiencing in today’s business world, it makes good sense to build in a “sense-and-adjust” change capability into all companies.

Results-based Organizational Design for Technology Entrepreneurs (TIM Review, May-2012, 8 page downloadable PDF) In this article, the author combines the benefits of results-based management with the benefits of organization design to describe a practical approach that technology entrepreneurs can use to design their organizations so that they deliver desired outcomes.

Why Porter’s Model No Longer Works (HBR Blog Network, Feb-2012, link to article) Discussion about how the emerging social era is obsoleting Porter’s classic value chain model, and what managers should be doing to confront the new reality.

10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders (Forbes, Apr-2012, link to article). Managing change effectively starts with great communications — which is quite different that being great at talking. This short article highlights 10 secrets of great leaders who mastered the art communications.

Culture Change That Sticks (Harvard Business Review, Aug-2012, 9 page downloadable PDF) The key to making changes that stick, the authors note, is to start with what is already working and build your gains on that foundation. Presents 5 core principles for achieving success in your change initiative.

Hidden Flaws in Strategy (McKinsey Quarterly, Jun-2003, 14 page downloadable PDF) The author Charles Roxburgh asks the key question: Can insights from behavioral economics explain why good executives back bad strategies? In the decade since this article was first published much work has been done on behavioral economics that supports the eight insights detailed here.

Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail (Harvard Business Review, Jan-2007, 11 page downloadable PDF) Author John Kotter finds that leaders that successfully transform business do eight things right, and in the right order.

The Competitive Imperative of Learning (HBR blog, Dec-2009, 3 page downloadable PDF) This short article examines the notion of “execution as efficiency” and compares it to the notion of “execution as learning”, with the premise being that effective execution comes from good organizational learning skills.

Strategy or Execution — Which is More Important? (strategy+business, Jun-2012, 4 page downloadable PDF) Many business leaders think they’d rather have great execution than superior strategies, but you can’t have the first without the second. Very short 2 page read.