Welcome to Change
My focus in this blog is fundamental change. In particular, I will write about fundamental change of complex organizational systems. Another phrase I like is enterprise transformation.
During the 1990s, in between two stints as a faculty member at Georgia Tech, I founded and managed two research and software companies – Search Technology, Inc., and Enterprise Support Systems, Inc. The second company created and sold a suite of software tools for strategic business planning, new product planning, market situation assessment, and technology portfolio analysis. We worked with over 100 companies, including Abbott Laboratories, Coca-Cola, Digital, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, 3M, Motorola, NCR, Raytheon, Rolls Royce, Rover, Southern Company and many others.
While our focus was on developing and selling software tools, our customers’ focus was on success in investing in new technologies and launching new products. This quest for success led them to ask for help in employing our tools to develop and evaluate strategies and plans. I kept track of who we helped and, until I stopped tracking it, we had a spreadsheet with several thousand senior managers and executives that we helped.
One particular thing stuck me in these many engagements. Many of these enterprises had great difficulty entertaining, addressing, and pursuing fundamental change. As an outsider, with quite a breath of experience, it was sometimes quite evident to me that tweaking “business as usual” would fall far short of successfully addressing the strategic challenges at hand. Yet, management teams could not accept the need for fundamental change of their business models.
In this blog, I will discuss how these teams often avoided change until they were out of time and low on resources. I’ll talk about why I think this happens. Of most importance, we’ll look in depth at how people avoided this fate.