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Step Six: Near the Ideal Practice for Locating, Anticipating, and Adapting to Irresistible Forces

Apr 6, 2008
"Companies should measure their success not by the fact that they are still around and making money, but by how many opportunities they have missed." -Gary Hamel

Learning about the concept of always-win, no-lose options is only part of what you need to know. Regardless of the ideal best practices you choose, you will build far more breakthrough gains by applying the concept to create multiple kinds of flexibility to deal with the same circumstances.

Some of these flexibilities should include more and faster ways to change, causing less disruption to your business when you pursue your options, and creating or changing irresistible forces when you need their benefits.

Let's begin by considering a personal analogy. Many people gain and lose weight often enough that they have to develop a clothing strategy.

They either acquire more than one wardrobe, or just buy baggy clothes so they can look about the same across a wide range of weights. By applying the ideal best practices for dealing with the irresistible force that affects your wardrobe requirements, you have two different options in this situation:

1. Adjusting your eating, drinking, and exercise habits to reflect variations in the conditions that normally cause you to gain and lose weight, or change shape, so that one well-fitted, attractive wardrobe will work for you all the time. This approach is desirable because it means that you are always at your best.

2. Acquiring clothing that attractively adjusts to fit your changing shape when that occurs, and remains stylish over time. This direction is attractive because it corrects for errors in the first approach while allowing you to rapidly adjust to unexpected changes.

Notice that these two options address the problem of adaptability for a changing shape from opposite directions. The first requires flexibility in your behavior in order to keep your body constant so that the clothes can be the same size over time.

For a company, this first approach would be like maintaining the same level of resources and effectiveness in relation to irresistible forces, regardless of irresistible force conditions.

The second option requires flexibility in your clothes to adapt to a changing body structure.

For a firm, this approach would often mean having external partners and suppliers who adjust to your needs and provide you with adaptability beyond what you could do for yourself.

For some, the second option seems impossible because styles of clothing change so much. To take best advantage of this direction, therefore, you'll also want to be able to create new irresistible forces, such as fashion preferences, that will support your wardrobe's flexibility.

For applying the ideal best practice, you should implement both options simultaneously because each one will cover for a breakdown in the other, thereby expanding your effectiveness from only using one or the other. As a result, you will have enormously increased your likelihood of always having a good and fashionable fit for your clothes at low cost.

Also, you may change your mind at some time in the future about what weight and shape you want to have. Employing both options simultaneously creates the ideal flexibility for you also to make that adjustment effectively and inexpensively.

A good organizational model to consider here is VISA, the credit card enterprise, because it combines both elements of the wardrobe example. The VISA network governs itself with a constitution, which each provider of credit card services must sign and abide by.

The constitution creates the equivalent of permanency in size and shape that makes the central organizational structure an unchanging one. Yet each member company is completely free to adapt to local market conditions in any way that it chooses, subject only to the limitations of the constitution.

VISA can also grow and adapt by adding new members and services, which presents an example of flexibility, like an adaptable garment that keeps the wearer in style. These members can also create more irresistible force benefit by seeking favorable legislation and regulation with the governments in their respective countries.

It's not surprising that VISA was one of the fastest growing large organizations in the world at the end of the twentieth century.

Continuing with the clothing analogy, many companies constantly change their size and shape to adapt to irresistible forces (such as ones that cause large changes in demand for the firm's goods or services).

For enterprises, cycles of hiring and layoffs (and of acquisitions and dispositions) are the equivalent of personal weight gains and losses. That's the wrong thing to do for implementing the ideal best practice.

This response to irresistible forces creates a lot of waste because it is costly, time consuming, and difficult to implement well. Organizations taking this approach will always find themselves behind in adapting to irresistible forces because it is simply too slow (particularly when you need rapid expansion).

What's needed instead is a size and shape (and access to other operations that can expand your flexibility) so that you can adjust accomplishments without changing the organization. Such a configuration can avoid the most costly, difficult, and ineffective elements of the change process.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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