Thriving on Discontinuous Change

November 2008
by Carol Kinsey Goman

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Thriving on Discontinuous Change

by Carol Kinsey Goman

IBM’s 2008 Global CEO Study finds that organizations are being bombarded by change, and many are struggling to keep up. Executives see significant change ahead, but the gap between expected change and the ability to manage it has almost tripled since the last Global Study in 2006.

The question is: How do we create the kind of organization that not only adapts quickly to current trends, but is aggressive about shaping and leading change?

Two kinds of change—incremental and discontinuous—are taking place simultaneously and constantly in business organizations around the world. Incremental change is the process of continuous improvement—what the Japanese refer to as kaizen. Discontinuous change is the kind of large-scale transformation that turns organizations inside out and upside down.

If managing incremental change can be compared to encouraging a group of joggers to gradually pick up the pace, then leading discontinuous change is like getting those same joggers to leap off a cliff and build their parachutes on the way down.

Incremental change fits the Newtonian framework of a linear, progressive, and predictable world. An unmistakable logic behind it makes it…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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