Surviving Disruptions

Disruptions kill companies.

Stable times are profitable; times of change are not. And companies dies when they attempt to remain stble and profitable while the world is changing.

Therefore, companies need a way to smoothly transition between two modes: 1. Disrupting: survive a disruption and capture new markets. 2. Growing: grow existing markets, capture profits, and prepare for the next disruption.

The problem is that most management approaches and company structures work well in one of these modes and poorly in the other. For example:

* Hierarchies are cost-efficient but poor at innovation or change. They are optimal for Growing and poor at Disrupting.
* Independent, cross-functional teams are great at innovation but poor at optimization or scale. They are optimal for Disrupting and poor at Growing.
* Individual accountability is designed to punish errors and create conservative thinking. It is great for Growing and poor at Disrupting.
* Fail fast is designed to maximize local learning, but makes it hard for groups to collaborate or standardize. It is great for Disrupting and poor at Growing.

In this series, we look at the upcomming Covid Disruption. We will explore a management structure, Zone Management, that can flex into two forms — one for Disruption and one for Growth. If your company isn’t using this or a similar structure today, the upcoming disruption is going to require that you change your entire corporate culture.

This article series can help you find the points to change that will not only survive the disruption, but create an ability to move smoothly between the two modes for decades to come.