The Effect the Increasing Rate of Change is Having on Corporate Sustainability

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The Effect the Increasing Rate of Change is Having on Corporate Sustainability
Ted Garrison, Management Consultant, United States

The problem is corporate sustainability is becoming harder and harder - if not impossible. Rita Gunther McGrath has just written a great book title, "The End of Competitive Advantage". With the rapidly changing world companies need to be able to change and adapt on an ongoing basis. She refers to this as transient competitive advantage. This expands on the ideas but forth by Clayton Christensen and his disruptive innovation concepts. Both talk about the idea that stability may be the riskiest of all approaches. Companies that don't constantly adapt will perish. In part new ideas or products are copied faster and faster - so it's impossible to sustain an advantage with them - you must keep changing.

Changing the Business Environment
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa
Hi there Ted, The problem with your prognosis is that eventually the need to change becomes more urgent than the need to evolve. Change simply for the sake of change is surely counter-productive? Every business must evolve and, to achieve this successfully, some change is necessary. However, change must be managed, and positive, for any business to "grow". Thus, in my opinion, evolution is essential, with change forming a manageable portion of that process. I look forward to your response.

Change and Corporate Sustainability
Ted Garrison, Management Consultant, United States
@Andrew Blaine: Your point of change for change is true. However, the world is always changing. The idea is to have the change reflect the changes that are occurring. It's much easier to make small continuous changes than to have to make large change all at once. Even the best evolving companies get caught from very rapid change, but the most successful companies have found that constant change or I should say constant improvement is best.
Constant small change is relatively easy to absorb. It becomes a way of life and is not disruptive. In fact, it provides energy. In fact, 28 seconds a day of improvement compounded daily will double productivity in 3 years.
The real message is there is no long-term stability anymore. Nothing remains the same for very long and companies that try to ignore this fact will fail. The list is almost endless and problem is the rate of change is accelerating so companies have less time to respond so best to just keep changing to meet the needs.



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