Change is the holly grail of enterprise success. Neuro-surgery, being on the forefront of scientific research in this century offers a great concept to borrow in change management. Neuroplasticity. It is the function of brain change between, short, longer and permanent adaption to learning. This is the way we decided to move forward in change management strategy. The three applications we evidenced, “chemo-synthesis”, “structural” and “functional” we can help every organization move forward in a world which changes at a ten times higher pace than twenty years ago.
Today the changes in the environment, both natural and business, are ten times faster than twenty years ago. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on changes in the natural environment due to my limited knowledge on the subject. But I will try to offer an approach to the business world in which I have been active for almost thirty years.
The high speed of changes in the business landscape means that if our reactions are not quick and above all effective our path to obsolescence will be so rapid that any delayed actions will not reverse the situation. In addition, the small adjustments that were popular at the end of the last century because of their mild influence may lead to an acceleration of operational inertia. The more widely available, but also more specialized knowledge offered in recent years, the developments in technology, the availability of resources, the new generation taking an active professional role and the access to information (sometimes useless), are some of the reasons that the change management has been a central point of business strategy in recent years.
People and businesses
In this context, companies, regardless of the industry they belong to, must acquire the ability of “flexibility”, that is, of adapting in an immediate and flexible way. At Koubaras Ltd, we have borrowed the concept of ‘flexibility’ from medicine and the ‘neuroplasticity’ of the human brain that allows us to learn to function in our ever-changing world. Adapting the human agency approach to the business world is nothing new. It has been used and indeed with great success by many others before us. I believe the reason for this success lies in the fact that even the heaviest industry bases its success on its people and the networks they create or participate in. This leads the organizations to have many characteristics of human behavior that in fact at the level of culture this element really takes off.
Business “agility,” or adaptability in an elastic manner, is a three-step process that dynamically moves the organization from one stage to the next and helps it face challenges, embrace new models, and ultimately design lasting responses. In the infographic we can see a quick footprint of the route. The simple expressions presented hide a great power of change and mainly create in their application a new model of approach both outside and inside the company that we consider necessary for the future that is already here.
Just like in medicine, the first line of operation is “chemical”. In other words, the necessary stimulation is offered to the organization in order to respond immediately to a problem, a crisis, or an unexpected change (disruption). So at the first level the actions are linked to the desired result and simultaneously require reward or punishment. Up to this point, we don’t offer anything new, we don’t address the cause of the problem, and most of all we don’t create a new operating base. This is why the various “sales rallies” for example, have short-term results only.
At the next level we aim for a medium-term change, we call it structural and it aims to adapt the structure of the organization in a way that responds to the new environment. What is actually desired is to shape our defenses for similar future crises or competitive attacks. It is obvious that this route is more laborious and takes longer, but the results are integrated into the business and have a medium-term, perhaps even long-term duration. Here, of course, we should mention that without vision and strategy, this exercise ends up moving the boxes of the organizational chart… (organizational box moving).
The final destination of the process is the real tomorrow. That is, the functional adaptation of the business to the new world that is taking shape around it and “within” it. It is about radically changing the way it produces any result. It is about accepting the changes that have already been made and moving away from models of historical success and repetition. It is the most dynamic and long-term path that a modern company can choose. But it leads to a lasting success: it creates a resiliently adaptive organization that is able to respond successfully to the challenges that will come.
“Business agility” is a form of identity. It’s corporate DNA. It is achieved in time and presupposes the interaction between the three stages we mentioned above. The reason is as follows. The market operates continuously and immediate reactions require close memory and speed of action. But only with this element our company – our boat – sails in the sea guided by the waves. Therefore, structural change is necessary when the changing winds allow it. Finally, since no wind lasts forever, proper boat and crew operation will make a long-term difference.