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Elephant or Cheetah?

25 Jan 2011

ElephantIf your organisation is the kind that brings to mind an image of an elephant rather than a cheetah setting a strategy that says we will become more agile and move with the pace of the market can be rather challenging to say the least. It is easy to say I want to be a cheetah, it isn’t quite so easy to change if you are rather large and cumbersome.  For large organisations and perhaps for organisations with large organisational processes setting a vision to make such a significant change is highly ambitious. So what do you actually have to achieve? Well, if you want to be truly agile then one thing is for certain – you can’t spend a year on a business case and several years implementing the changes; an elephant in a spotty fur coat is still an elephant.

True agility means agile in everything including your processes for decision making. So, if your strategic intent is to adapt and change more rapidly then you need to take a good look at the implications of your vision and be serious about what you are setting out to achieve.  Changing to use speed as a source of competitive advantage or as a means to better service is demanding and will stress the organisation in places you haven’t imagined; much the same as an over enthusiastic work out will awaken sleepy muscles.  Thinking about what is required and the scope and scale of the change is vital, but don’t try it on your own, especially not if you work in an office high up in an office block with windows big enough to climb out of.  Look for the people who appreciate your concerns and bring them together, work with urgency and build a new vision that fits with your needs.

Whether the change you desire is a complete change of direction or getting better at what you do to provide better service or increased value for money or even to stay ahead of the competition then there are plenty of questions that you need to ask yourself and work through.  Get to work on them now, get help – you are going to need it.

Laurence Haughton titled his 2001 business book –

It’s not the big that eat the small it’s the fast that eat the slow…

Cheetah

he recognised an unstoppable trend for change in many of the world’s major organisations.  Slow just doesn’t cut it any more. There has never been a greater need to think more new things, think faster, take decisions and translate decisions into action that achieves measurable results.  If you see yourself as a bit of an elephant then what are you doing about it?

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