Adaptive Organization

Writing in response to

Call for Insights #2: Altimeter Blog Ring and the Adaptive Organization

on invitation extended by Jeremiah Owyang ‏on twitter

I am traveling and don’t have enough time to structure whole information but i hope all collected below will be informative. (As a practice I forward  an email called “fuel for the day” to a long list of people in my organization and share motivating/learning quotes with all, mostly from Brian Tracy’s Quote of the day service and rest from the books I read. Collecting most of the quotes from those emails, pls email on if you want to be part of the mailing list)


Adaptive Organization is a great necessity of time. We have witnessed a lot of organizations died in past and some are dying now due to their non adaptiveness to change..let me quote a line to clear it

“In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”

– Anonymous

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” 
–Charles Darwin
yes and if you are failed to listen to market or are too busy with daily routines you will not be able to see whats coming around the corner. if organization is running right that means Management is good and if organization is unaware of the upcoming challenges that means leadership is not doing its part as given in a quote below

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. “

– Peter F. Drucker, Author and Management Expert

Its a norm by organizations that stay safe..bureaucratic leadership laugh at people who talk about taking the ship in undiscovered waters for their own insecurities and lack of vision since they have not seen or imagined anything like it. I must share another quote
“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
– Grace Hopper, American Computer Scientist
Aha I must quote my observation on sinking ships cause they fail to adapt. Atari was a great success story but they died. Nokia is dying, Blackberry is dying. The moment of change come in the shape of iPhone changed the realities, as i wrote in a small article below
regardless of what iPhone did for itself, it changed everything for Nokia, Blackberry (in bad way) and for Samasung, HTC, motorolla (in good way). I am also reading the book on steve jobs and there was a single moment of change that steve responded to, which changed everything. It was the moment when he arranged to see what is happening at Xerox with computers. If he had missed to respond to that change, the world of computers might be a different place.
Ice Age has not only happened to the dinosaurs but also come upon organizations/industries if they don’t foresee it and manage to save themselves accordingly.  On march 14, 2010 I wrote an articles for Telecom Industry and the heading was “Dear Telcos! Ice age is coming. Shift or you will end up in museums”

On the launch of Macintosh computer, Steve was asked if he has done any research on if there is any market for this computer. In a nearly offended tone he replied “Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?

Asked how much research and focus groups are done to guide apple when he introduced the iPad, jobs famously quipped, “None, it isn’t the consumer’s job to know what they want. It’s hard for consumer to tell you what they want when they have never seen anything remotely like it”.

– Steve Jobs, Company-Apple, Sales-$108 billion, Market value-$546 billion

Organizations must choose challenges over competence to strive, there is no such thing as security in life.

“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively, unless you can choose a challenge instead of a competence.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady
Organizations become too satisfied and went into comfort zone with their success or routine benefits. As quoted by writer Brian Tracy Comfort zone is a major damaging factor to human potential and i would say to Corporate potential as well.

“Comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, then a master. And then it becomes a tamer, and with a hook and whip it makes puppets of your larger desires.”

– Kahlil Gibran, Poet, Visual Artist

And what you must do to be adaptive organization, work on human resources. As entrepreneurs are necessary for economy they are required in organizations. People who are committed to what they do and have a passion for it.

“Without a compelling cause, our employees are just putting in time. Their minds might be engaged, but their hearts are not. Meaning precedes motivation.”

– Lee J. Colan

Couple of week ago, i was getting a training on how to take hire the best…the guy was giving techniques and shared my opinion with all that “what i see in hiring someone is the passion inside him for that he a builder (the one who is into building systems and concepts and field) or is a day passer. If he has right amount of fire in his belly for the field, he will learn the tools”. and when i was reading book on steve jobs i came across following lines

Job’s primary test for recruiting people was to make sure they had a passion for the product. He would sometimes bring candidates into a room where prototype of Mac was covered by a cloth, dramatically unveil it, and watch, “if their eyes lit up, if they went right for the mouse, Steve would smile and hire them” recalled Andrea Cunningham. “He wanted them to say ‘Wow!’

– excerpt from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

 Part of adaptive orgs must be busy in R&D all the time and must appreciate employees on taking risks. opening new horizons

The practice of R&D involves making mistakes, realizations, corrections, and more mistakes. Trial and error is a fundamental part of the process. Too many managers in corporate America learn to avoid invention and new thinking because they have been convinced that their careers depend upon not making mistakes.

- -Tom Huff

There wasn’t going to be much room for error. It was the biggest riskiest decisions I ever made, and I agonized about it for weeks,  but deep down I believed there was nothing IBM couldn’t do.

–Tom Watson Jr. on launch of IBM 360

Human are working for two reasons either for Fear or for Passion. And what we must do is to change this human drive from fear to passion and miracles will follow. I have written a blog article on this one as well. Had an interesting debate on this one on linkedin as well.

As per below quote, Organizations must also constantly learn. They call it cost cutting when they stop employees from international training and stop sponsoring them for trade shows and conferences. The bureaucracy in the organization boast about it, and showed how many dollars they have saved but it is penny wise and pound foolish. Learning organizations will kept their up to date with what is happening in industry and will keep them engaged and motivated so they keep producing. I wrote an article on the competition in the company between bureaucracy and entrepreneurs. One don’t like change and others are constantly changing

The illiterate person is the person who is no longer learning and growing and increasing his or her value every single day.

–Brian Tracy, Author

job of an organization is to give such an environment to the entrepreneurs within the organization that they can grow on.

Sony is a pioneer and never intends to follow other. Through progress, Sony wants to serve the whole world. It shall be always a seeker of unknown…Sony has a principal of respecting and encouraging one’s ability…and always tries to bring out the best in a person. This is the vital force of Sony.

–Akio Morita (Sony Chief Executive) on Sony ideology

And i must quote Seth Godin (i am a great fan)

How can an organization respond to new opportunities?

 If an organization is both pessimistic and operationally focused, then every new idea is a threat. It represents more work, something that could go wrong, a chance for disaster. People work to protect against the downside, to insulate against the market, to be sure that they won’t get blamed for anything that challenges the system. In organizations like this, a new idea has to be proven to be better than the current status quo in all situations before it gets launched.

 On the other hand, an organization filled with people who are rewarded for shaking things up and generating game-changing products and services just might discover that outcomes they are dreaming of are in fact what happen. The enthusiasm that comes from believing that this one might just resonate with the market is precisely the ingredient that’s required to make something resonate.

– Seth Godin, Marketer

With their resource and power in hand the have still great room to play and many “yet” Impossible things to explore

In Lewis Carrolls’s book, Alice in Wonderland, Alice is arguing with the Mad Hatter over a ridiculous idea he has suggested. Alice says, “you can’t believe something like that; it is impossible”. The mad hatter replies, with some pride, “Nonsense! I’ve developed the ability to believe at least two completely impossible things every morning before breakfast”.

Development is done by people who proclaim and declare completely impossible things, out of their experience or ignorance.

– Brian Tracy, Writer

Aha just received this quote from Brian Tracy Quote of the day email and it fits this article perfectly well.

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

– Wayne Gretzky, Hockey Player

I also recently wrote an article on an option for telecoms to help them shift looking at upcoming changes.

Adaptive Organizations are definitely required in this world. We have lost a lot and in no mood to lose the stars further,either for their lack of vision or due to the lousy bureaucrats in control over there. I have also a word for these bureaucrats that is Corporate Vultures. They eat on successful organizations weaken it to death, and are the first one to fly off the ship when it is sinking.

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