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Friday, November 17, 2006

Adapt For The Present & Build For The Future

Jeffrey Phillips writes an interesting point about companies needing to focus on adapting for the present and plan for the future – overlooking the option to copycat successful yesteryear models:
Looking at the competitive business scenario today, business finds that by the time it adopts the seemingly successful paradigm, the market has already begun to change. Jim Collins looked at firms that had been successful in the last several decades. The question is - what does past models of success have to do with building a successful firm right now and the conditions we'll face over the next few years. It is true that so much has changed in that time frame, as attention spans and market cycles have shortened and the amount of global competition has increased. So, he recommends that rather than Built to Last, it is prudent to adopt a new mantra - Able to Adapt.There’s no doubt that for successful business today adaptability is a key determinant for success. Coupled with speed of response, these qualities may become the most needed for survival today. One needs to survive and succeed today to last for battling tomorrow. Having said that, Jeffrey is spot on when he brings out that there are some things that all good businesses have in common - a strong corporate culture, a willingness to question the status quo, intimacy with customers and a well-defined strategy. What most firms need to add is the ability to quickly reconfigure themselves and become very adaptable, and the capability to traverse to a new business model as they arise. A close look at corporate dinosaurs or walking dead shows their inability to adjust their business model to capitalize on current business challenges or opportunities. While I agree with all these things, I can not underemphasize the need for a well enshrined vision and a deep rooted conviction in realizing it - this may be the lasting differentiator. One can keep on adapting but to what end – that’s where the vision part and the DNA of the company matters. No two ways about this. Like strategy & execution that need to go hand-in-hand, it should be Adapt For The Present and Build For The Future.

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