I'm facilitating an Inner Circle at the NYSE next Monday and the topic is what companies need to do to meet the challenges of this highly disruptive, turbulent world in which we now find ourselves. The tile of our session is "How Leading Businesses are Navigating the Slowdown, the Double Dip, and the New Normal."
First thing we have to acknowledge--and this is tough not only for companies but for individuals as well--is that things will never go back to where they were. There is no returning to "normal" times. There is no system reset button that will work here. This is it. And it will be turbulent for years. Years.
So what's a business to do? For that matter, what should any of us do, to keep our heads clear and manage the velocity of change that swirls around us, threatening to throw us off balance at every turn?
Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great and other books, has come up with a new one after nine years of research. He calls this one, co-written with Morton Hansen, Great by Choice. The argument is that companies--and their leaders--can choose to be great by following several principles, what they call productive paranoia, fanatic discipline, and empirical creativity.
Note that being the most innovative company isn't included here. Nor being the smartest person in the room. This is especially interesting to me because the last eight Inner Circles I've facilitated have focused on people's efforts to become more innovative, based on the view that innovation is our way out of this economic downtown and the frozen place we find ourselves with dwindling resources.
Our attendees at those earlier Inner Circles felt strongly about the need for innovation being paramount. They worried about how to become less risk adverse, among other things. Collins' findings turn that a bit on its head.
I'll be interested in what our business leaders attending next Monday's breakfast discussion have to say. It will be provocative, that's for sure.