Companies today face an increasing rate of change. But it’s not just the rate of change that is unsettling; it’s the scale. Entire industries are getting upended. This change comes from many sources such as buying behaviors, technologies, material and manufacturing advancements, playing in a global sandbox, or merely the amount of information that people and companies are asked to absorb on a daily basis. As Eric Schmidt of Alphabet (Google) noted in 2010, “Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until now.” Companies, run by executives who were trained to run organizations in relatively slow-moving economies are now having to adjust to faster-paced environments to compete for customers and talent.
This rapid rate of change has exposed gaps in organizations internal infrastructure and the way they go to market. Organizations are often too rigid and slow to keep up and anticipate the market demands. For instance, marketing spends more on technology than IT, yet IT can be slow to respond. Consumers are buying products late at night from their bed on their phone, and while the bar is rising for better, differentiated customer experiences which no one at the company manages from end to end.
Companies need to be adaptable and pivot based on their driving philosophy, or value proposition, and not get pigeonholed by their increasingly commoditized offerings. The risk of not changing is high. In the 1950s, the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company was 75 years, but today is only 15 years. Only 12% of Fortune 500 companies remain from the original list. Meanwhile, nearly $1 out of every $2 spent online goes through Amazon, an older technology company at the age of 23.
Adaptable companies seek to jump the typical cycle of growth, maturity, and decline to catch new waves of growth by redefining their value proposition. Tightening their strategic focus enables leaders changes to their talent, offer, technology, infrastructure, and go-to-market strategies. IBM today is a far cry from a manufacturer of punchcard tabulators, but built on its history to focus on data innovation.
As we continue to push into this new era of choice and change, both B2B and B2C customers have higher expectations for what brand provide through their offerings, experiences, and purpose. Customers are looking for something to buy – not just something to buy. Organizations will be hard pressed to stumble upon a central focus and need to approach their future with increased intentionality.
We help companies achieve waves of new growth by creating long-term value propositions, building systems for delivering value, then developing tools and artifacts that inspire audiences, whether internal or external, to take action.