Peddling your bicycle faster cannot compete with a motorbike
There is a critical mismatch between the way we run our companies and the way modern commerce has evolved.
Business cycles, complexity, speed, and rate of change are faster, more involved, more integrated and interactive, and more customer-driven than the way our organizations are structured and operate. We’re still running our organizations as if it is 1950, albeit with more finesse, technology, rules, bureaucracy, and “science.”
However, you cannot compete with a motorcycle by pedaling your bicycle faster. And executives are pedaling as fast as they can. They never will catch up with the modern business motorcycle. And these are not only motorcycles, but they are also self-driving ones too. Executives in traditional C-Suites might be the best cyclists there are, but they’re still cycling, while others are cruising, even flying.
The paragraphs above are the start of the Preface of my book: “Reinventing the C-Suite.”
When I began to write the book, I had in mind to help executives realize the challenges facing them in general, and the digital challenge in particular. As I researched and explored the issues, I came to understand that digital is the lesser of the challenges executives face. The greatest challenge is the way they organize and run their operations, the way they control and manage, and that their priorities seem to be at odds with the primary purpose of business, shareholders, and employees. Technology merely accelerates the crisis. And a crisis it is - corporate raiding of the economy, pillaging of resources, pollution of the environment, and control of employees’ lives. This may seem a harsh indictment, but read the papers and watch the news – it’s very worrying.
We need a revolution.
With the average C-Suite consisting of 50- 60-year olds, 70% male and white, one must also worry about the thinking and management styles they employ. As I say later in the book: “If a C-Suite is likened to a government, it would be a gerontocracy (run by elders), an androcracy (run by men) and an albocracy (run by white people). I’m not sure that’s a recipe for success in this new world.”
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