There are four kinds of change:
1) Transactional change – do what we have always done, better.
2) Transitional change – significant change but we have time to evolve.
3) Transformational change – significant change now.
4) Exponential change – increasingly impactful and unrelenting, continuous step change enacted in a compressed period of time.
Transitional and even transformational change have, for a brief period of time at least, a potential end-state. Exponential change is like compound interest, each step is significantly greater than the one that went before. Success leaves its own fingerprint (or not).
Any form of change that moves beyond improving "what is" implies working on the organisation's culture. Here we have to face the harsh reality: the so-called, "modern organisation" – perhaps the 20th century's greatest innovation – is ill-equipped to deal with the scope, complexity and speed of change we now face.
Good intentions and/or edict won't turn a hierarchical, bureaucratic, head and hand way of thinking into an innovative, entrepreneurial, first to market, breakthrough business. Think reinvention … not rework.
In a world where agility, ideas, collaboration and global reach dictate who wins and who fails, tomorrow's organisation will, of necessity, be fast, flat, flexible, focused and structured as a network of networks.
Think of a team of teams … not traditional top-down leadership. Think jazz ensemble … not a marching band. Think work … not employment. Think community … not tribe. Think contribution … not title. Think collaboration … not cooperation. Think ideas … not ideology. Think values … not rules.
As for leadership, the market for talent will put a premium on software savvy, the capacity to leverage big numbers, speed of learning, comfort with ambiguity, personal resilience and the capacity to build community. The dilemma: top talent is going to be more difficult to find than ever.
Think hiring with tomorrow's culture in mind … not hierarchy. Think leading the charge … not being in charge. Recognise that we will need super teams more than we need superstars.
Insights from "If It Can Be Digitalised, It Will Be Digitalised (PDF)".