Why is Developing Constantly (the fourth attribute) so important?
In this world of increasing change, it is essential that organisations are able to meet the challenges of changing economic environments, customer needs and their expectations. Businesses that do this are much more sustainable over the long term. Resulting in being able to plan and execute their investments over a longer time period, creating greater certainty and structure for their people.
To be able to do this, they have honed their ability to learn from everything they do, be adaptable in their thinking and approach, therefore become resilient. All of these attributes have been greatly discussed and there are many good books on each. However, it basically all boils down to this: thriving organizations have the ability to adapt to changing situations.
When these attributes are not in place, there is great danger for these businesses to become fixated on ‘what’ they do. When the world inevitably changes, so do their fortunes.
Take for example the story of the Swiss watch industry, an industry that had dominated quality timepieces. These timepieces had the reputation of being the most accurate in the world; if you wanted a quality watch, you bought a mechanical Swiss movement. There was nothing that kept time better.
Until quartz technology was made available for wristwatches in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. To cut a long story short, the Swiss watch industry seemed to be fixated by What they did (making mechanical timepieces), it largely ignored this new technology, even when directly offered it.
The Japanese and Americans took up this new technology and between 1970 and 1988, Swiss watch employment fell from 90,000 to 28,000. It took over a decade of pain before this now significantly smaller Swiss watch industry started to embrace the new technology (in the shape of Swatch) and started to build back its world leading reputation.
Arguably, had the Swiss watch industry been sourced from their Higher Purpose, (to be at the leading edge of timekeeping and to develop constantly time keeping accuracy) rather than sourced from What they did (make exceptional mechanical timepieces), there might have been a different, less painful.
Well, in addition to many of the staples that ordinary organisations have in place, such as a clear strategy, a sound business model, great people and efficient processes, we have noticed thriving organisations have five other attributes that enable them to Develop Constantly.
Viktor E Frankl said, “Fear brings about that which one is afraid of.” Leaders of Why-Based Organisations know how to create safe environments for their people, releasing their full potential and enabling them to do their life’s work. When we all feel safe and connected to what’s important to us, we thrive.
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