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Strategy and leadership for a disruptive world

Advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and biotechnology have the potential to disrupt the rules of the game for every industry.

Challengers with big dreams, new tools and a "can do" attitude are creating new sources of value, changing the face of competition and disrupting the foundations on which our industries and institutions are built.

To prepare your business for the changes ahead you need to adopt a fresh approach to strategy and leadership, and be ready to disrupt your business before someone else does it for you.

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The one thing that makes a company last forever

This article was originally posted on 12 June 2013.

This is an excellent article that makes a number of great points about what it takes to succeed in a disruptive world.  For that reason I’ll only draw out three points that stick out for me:

The first is the need for companies faced with disruptive threats to consciously manage on two fronts – the existing business and a portfolio of initiatives or experiments aimed at making the transition to a new game with new rules.  This is a difficult challenge for a host of reasons and my instinct is that history will show that most organisations struggle to do it.

The second point is the importance for leaders of having a “vision”.  Unfortunately the term “vision” has suffered over the years as a result of being treated increasingly as a “tick the box” exercise.  In a disruptive world, I’m not sure the word “vision” is particularly helpful.  What’s clear though is that a leader and his team must have a point of view about the changes going on in the world around us, what those changes mean for the organisation in terms of both vulnerability and opportunity, and how they would like to see things shape up.  Developing such a point of view isn’t a five minute job but done properly it can be an extraordinarily powerful focal point for organisational transformation and growth.

The third is the importance of creating value in the horizontals – i.e. by driving initiatives, developing projects, going to market etc. across the different businesses in an organisation rather than down traditional business unit lines.  While the importance of this is often acknowledged intellectually, the reality is that actually doing it is hard.  The rewards for leaders and organisations which are able to reorient themselves to do it though can be massive.

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