FUTURE-PROOFING LARGE COMPANIES
The Heretic is read by an unusual combination of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and corporate irritants. Personally, I find myself splitting time fairly evenly between working with startups and the C-suite of Fortune 500 companies as well as the leaders (and often owners) of medium-sized businesses from all around the world.
With startups, I work on disrupting the status quo, with corporates I work on preventing to become disrupted and instead keep being the disruptor. Truth be told I sometimes feel like a double agent — taking what I learned from one group to the other, just to turn around and do the same again, just in the other direction. ;)
Of course, corporate innovation is a highly complex topic which warrants many, many posts of their own. However, one thing I keep preaching to corporate leaders universally is that the real job of upper management is to learn. As change has become the constant in our exponential times, continuous learning becomes paramount. Sadly I see way too many organizations focusing their attention on maximizing what they have — which is typically what made them successful in the first place and what got folks in upper management their job.
It is a natural tendency and, of course, understandable. However, it is a dangerous habit to have — as the world is moving faster and faster and change is coming not only quicker but also more ferociously than ever before. Thus your role as a leader in any organization is to keep learning.
As for your (revenue generating) core/legacy business — in the words of a dear friend of mine who very successfully turned around a large, global business:
Exploit and explore. Milk your existing cows (exploit) and experiment with new ideas (explore).
Think about it: If big business were any good at this, there were no startups — as big business have vastly larger resources than any startup or venture capitalist will ever have.
Build What Matters.