Recognize embedded tensions and paradoxes
- Revitalization vs. Normalization. At the core of every change initiative is the desire to breathe new life into the organization―to revitalize ways of thinking, behaving and working. But one change initiative often morphs into many, and before long employees become “change weary.” Thus, we find ourselves in the conflicted situation of needing revitalization but desiring normalization.
- Globalization vs. Simplification. Doing business today means doing business globally, but the complexities brought on by globalization are often in conflict with the need for organizations to make it simple for customers to do business with them. Leaders struggle with creating organizational responses that address the need to master globalization while offering customers and employees optimal simplification.
- Innovation vs. Regulation. Many organizations, particularly in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, are saddled with trying to do business, let along innovate, under increasingly crushing regulatory environments. This is a stifling tax on a company’s capacity to find creative approaches to solving unmet customers’ needs. As such we struggle with the tension between the desire to boost innovation and the need to operate under increasing regulation.
- Optimization vs. Rationalization. Customers not only have more power today―in some industries, they seem to have all of the power. Organizations are struggling to provide solutions that are better, faster, cheaper and increasingly customized. Leaders are caught in a seemingly endless struggle to reconcile the tension between optimizing benefits to customers while rationalizing their costs of doing business.
- Digitization vs. Humanization. Advanced technology is at the core of virtually every company’s business model today. Entire value chains are being digitized. Yet, the onset of ubiquitous digitization is occurring at the same time that individuals are yearning for a sense of meaning in their organizations. Leaders are struggling with how to reconcile the increasing need for the digitization of their business models while trying to create organizational climates that have an authentic sense of humanization―creating an overarching sense of purpose and collective ambition.