The Need for Speed

Bill Gates exhorts companies to do "Business @ the Speed of Thought." Strategy guru Adrian Slywotsky believes in the law of "survival of the fastest ." The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Lab practices high-velocity leadership. Companies are striving to do business in real time, with the shortest possible lapse between idea and action, initiation and result. The authors of say that business in the New Economy is transacted ten times faster than before: Changes that once took ten years to make now happen in one year. To succeed, they say, businesses must "make the jump to warp speed." [1] Which is why, among the differences between hierarchical and horizontal organizations that are listed in Figure 3-1, that of speed is probably the most critical.

Top executives do not move to the horizontal organization as a result of a sudden awakening or Pentecostal experience. Sadly, there are no tongues of fire descending on the uninitiated top team, with everyone suddenly proclaiming, "Let's go horizontal" or "We gotta have high-performance teams ."

More typically, a company contemplates a major strategic shift or is confronted by a significant business issue. Perhaps the new strategy calls for breaking out of the current product configuration, or it requires the company to enter new, unfamiliar markets. Maybe the company's technology base must be recast, or perhaps it merely needs to put more oomph behind its brands or customer groups.

In other words, a challenge presents itself ”one that interrupts the traditional management rhythms . Members of the senior team begin to realize that the playing field is changing. The old star- chamber approach, where executives at the top make the key calls, is becoming pass. It is too slow and does not harness the brainpower and drive of others in the organization, especially those who interact with customers.

[1] Peg C. Neuhauser, Ray Bender, and Kirk L. Stromberg, Building Corporate Culture in the Connected Workplace (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000), p. 35.

When Goliaths Clash. Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization
When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization
ISBN: 0615198686
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 99

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