Professor Len Middleton teaches strategy at the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan. We were honored to have him present last week at Rob Pasick’s Leaders Connect on “Reinventing your Organization Amid a Crisis”. Please click HERE for a video of the presentation which includes Len’s slides. Based on Len’s ideas, I will be starting a Leaders Connect group to help leaders reinvent themselves at this time of rapid change. See below for more information.
Here is a summary of Len’s presentation:
1. More now than ever, we are living in an era of constant change. The future will be even more impactful. Coming soon will be:
· 3D Printing
· New Energy
· New Communication Methodologies
· New Materials
Len encouraged us to look at those changes with a view toward what is possible for us to do as leaders of organizations.
2. Len stressed that what is important to take advantage of in this rapidly changing world is a shift in your perspective. He quoted Walt Disney on this point. “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” -Walt Disney
3. He encouraged all of us to establish a new safe space where we regularly can think about creating new ideas. He challenged all of us to spend at least 15 minutes a day without looking at our cell phones, to just think about the opportunities of the future. (I would encourage everyone to create a new ideas journal where you record nothing but new ideas for the future on a regular basis)
4. Len described a process for thinking of new ways to connect to new customers. One way to do this is to do an internal review of your current business model.
5. As a second part of the organizational assessment, he encouraged us to do an external review by asking “What’s changing?”.
· Is the market growing?
· What are the dynamics of your industry and who has the power?
· What is your competition doing that is unique?
· How are your customers changing? What are the demographics?
· What is changing in technology that will impact your industry?
6. By answering these questions, leaders are able to identify opportunity gaps which can lead them to create new business projects or service ideas.
7. In his presentation Len provided many more exercises to help in your strategic analysis. I encourage you to go through the slides with your executive team to gain the most benefit from these exercises.
8. In summary, what the most important things to recognize are:
· You must shift your perspective.
· You must recognize it is decision time now.
· Recognize that the trend is your friend.
· Know that you will have to act without perfect information.
· Know that you will have to embrace uncertainty.
· Know that you have to anticipate problems and have the faith you will know how to solve them as they come up.
In order to help the Leaders Connect community to be able to reinvent their organization, I will be offering a Leaders Connect support group which will meet for 6 sessions bi-weekly, starting in mid-October via Zoom. Please contact me if you are interested in participating.