Tom O'Shea |

hbr-transformationREADY OR NOT … HERE IT COMES!  So, do you remember playing “hide and seek” when you were a kid?  I get to occasionally play with my grandkids even now – a true sign of a timeless game.  The game involves covering your eyes and counting to ten before you come looking for those who have been scampering to hide.  Caeden, my youngest grandson who will be three next month, usually skips some of the numbers while counting and squeals loudly when he finds me hiding behind a bush or tiny tree. Good fun.


Covering your eyes works fine in this kids game – but not so much in the adult business world.  The pace of change is so rampant that if you keep your eyes covered too long – you might not recognize the landscape when you are ready to look.  The one thing in common is the callout … ready or not – here it comes!  We often see some leadership teams and key leaders still keeping their eyes covered and not seeing waves of change happening within their organizations.  The October 2016 edition of Harvard Business Review has several excellent reads around the Workforce of the Future and somewhat corresponding implications for why current leadership development strategies are failing.


My consulting practice is centered on organizational transformation – how do we help leaders and their teams become better equipped to SHAPE THE FUTURE in an increasingly imbalanced and turbulent working climate.  The challenges and climates are getting tougher all the time – making the need and premium for positive transformation continuously greater also.


The October HBR also includes a useful article with some insights you can use in examining your business model and transformation directions … The Transformative Business Model.  The authors are two professors and the Dean at The University of Cambridge Judge Business School Entrepreneurship Centre and offer six keys to consider as you examine your organizations readiness to be adaptive for future success.  I think these six have application whether you run a local accounting firm, a regional charity or non-profit or global consumer products company – obviously in different ways.


Six Keys to Success for Creating More Transformative Business Model

1. Create a more personalized product or service – Many new models offer products or services that are better tailored than the dominant models to customers’ individual and immediate needs. Companies often leverage technology to achieve this at competitive prices.

2. Create a closed-loop process – Many models replace a linear consumption process (in which products are made, used, and then disposed of) with a closed loop, in which used products are recycled. This shift reduces overall resource costs.

3. Asset sharing – some innovations succeed because they enable the sharing of costly assets—Airbnb allows home owners to share them with travelers, and Uber shares assets with car owners. Sometimes assets may be shared across a supply chain. The sharing typically happens by means of two-sided online marketplaces that unlock value for both sides: I get money from renting my spare room, and you get a cheaper and perhaps nicer place to stay. Sharing also reduces entry barriers to many industries, because an entrant need not own the assets in question; it can merely act as an intermediary.

4. Usage-based pricing – Some models charge customers when they use the product or service, rather than requiring them to buy something outright. The customers benefit because they incur costs only as offerings generate value; the company benefits because the number of customers is likely to grow.

5. A more collaborative ecosystem – Some innovations are successful because a new technology improves collaboration with supply chain partners and helps allocate business risks more appropriately, making cost reductions possible.

6. An agile and adaptive organization – Innovators sometimes use technology to move away from traditional hierarchical models of decision making in order to make decisions that better reflect market needs and allow real-time adaptation to changes in those needs. The result is often greater value for the customer at less cost to the company.

The article does a nice job of recognizing two long-term factors that transformative business models must interact with … either as enablers or obstacles to success.

Do Your Scenario Planning

Whether you are ready to make your business more fully transformative – you will find it productive to use this framework for discussion with your team.  These are six excellent provocative conversations to create (maybe not all at one time) … but you will find that by engaging in the conversation on each of these tracks you will definitely generate ideas for consideration.  Increasingly, leadership brings added value to the enterprise by pushing the envelope and bringing more creativity to the business of leadership.
As Mike Richardson, my good friend and one of my partners says often … Conversation Flow leads to Cash Flow.  What is the quality of the conversations that you are having with your team?  I would love to hear your feedback and your thoughts on the topic.

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