Adaptability: examples which I can think of
Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage: This article was about how increasingly important it is for companies to be fluid and open in their company structures if they want to be successful in the new business age. Several key points were highlighted: the ability to read and act on signals, the ability to experiment, the ability to manage complex multicompany systems, and the ability to mobilize. This article started off by emphasizing how volatile and unpredictable any company in any industry can be.There are multiple reasons for this, whether they are new entrants into the market, a change in information technology, or the environment, and all of them can affect our position in the market from year to year. Classic examples which I can think of include the current slump in the US economy, the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, or the legislation which will soon require restaurants to post nutritional information about their dishes.
All of these have an impact on a business’ position within the market.There is a good point about your ability to react to the signals of the external environment. Using detailed analyses to focus in on individual customers has allowed companies to provide an individualized service and powerful marketing tool.
The article mentions Tesco’s use of such a loyalty program, and I know that Safeway and Sam’s club has been using such a platform for some time as well. The next point mentioned in the article deals with experimentation, and this is another area which often gets overlooked.Experimentation, or R&D, is how new products and services are created. Companies like Procter & Gamble and Apple recognize the value in being first to offer something new to the market are usually the ones who profit most from it.
However, as the article mentioned, there is often a great deal of financial investment and a high rate of initial failure in pioneering new products, so R&D is often one of the first to get hit with budget cuts for smaller companies. I really felt that an emphasis on the third point – managing complex multicompany systems – is very important.The article talks about a “dynamic business system” which takes the focus off of an individual company and reorients it on the industry as a whole. After reading this, I thought about the conversation we had in class about the health of a market – if tourism for the entire island of Maui is up, chances are that it’s up at your hotel as well. By influencing an entire system or segment, you open up the possibility to focus in on your customer while also opening up the possibility to lead that market segment. The fourth point was about mobilizing people and processes at both a global level and a local level.
The example of Whole Foods exemplified how authority to make decisions needs to be delegated to those who have the ability to make effective decisions locally. Many companies like Whole Foods and Netflix seek to create a fluid system, but the traditional vertical hierarchical organizational system should not be abandoned – its rigidity is its strength. These four points are ones which not all companies exhibit and ones which some exhibit more strongly than others. The necessity to adapt can be difficult for large companies, but those who are open and who move forward have a higher chance to prosper in our world of constant change.