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CHANGE MANAGEMENT


importance of clearly communicating and defining what things mean becomes vital. Te challenge is that with today’s rapid speed of change, definitions need to move quickly from theory to tangi- ble, pragmatic and easy to understand terms. Heffernan says, “we don’t see things that are too far away, that are too distant from our own experience … or simply too complicated to assemble. But we also don’t see things that are too far away in time … we build laby- rinths of such cunning complexity that we cannot find our way out (p.239)”. With any formula, theory or process


the true test is the application within the local context, with all the unique details and complexities. In the words of Mike Tyson, former world heavy- weight champion, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.


Radical outsiders


So how do you keep in touch with reality, not succumbing to the natural human drive toward cognitive bias, ignoring crucial signals because of your personal agenda? To lead a change process within intensely uncertain market conditions requires discerning problem solving and decision-mak- ing (this is an entire discussion). To





saying “the chance of breaking that in- dustry and remaking it in a productive way are very low” if you are contin- uously surrounded by homogenous, like-minded advisers or consultants. He continues to say that the advantage of radical outsiders is that they are the “underdogs”, not overly attached to a particular process or theory, but rather “more bold and creative”, quick to learn and test new models, in uncharted and uncertain markets. Te markets that will be explored


are facing ‘wicked problems’, which are problems that are highly complex, with multiple challenges, and no single solution. Tese markets live on the edge of chaos, seen by most main- stream investors as unpredictable and unsuitable investment opportunities. Yet within these highly fragment-


ed and complex markets, there are leaders who have become comfortable with the unknown, ever-changing and unpredictable conditions and most importantly have somehow worked out ways of using the forces of chaos to their strategic advantage. Tese radical outsiders, creatively solve highly com- plex problems with extremely limited resources. Out of necessity they have discovered some seemingly counterin- tuitive approaches to managing change.


High delta markets


In the words of Mike Tyson, former world heavyweight champion, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”


arrive at the end of this change process and be told by everyone around you “how did you not see the most ob- vious problems at hand?” Tis is the advantage to having diverse thought partners to provide reality checks, questioning your assumptions. David Kidder, successful Silicon


Valley entrepreneur and author of the Startup Playbook, coined the term ‘radical outsider’ which is someone with expertise from a different industry to you that has not been brain-washed by your industry’s assumptions and business models. Astro Teller, head of GoogleX, further qualifies this term by


30 | june 2016 |


Jeremy Kirshbaum, from the Institute for the Future defines ‘high delta mar- kets’, also known as ‘frontier markets’, as constantly shifting and changing economically, politically, socially and technologically. Te term ‘delta’ refers to the mathematical symbol for change over time, hence a ‘high change market’. Many West African coun- tries are classified as frontier markets. Te so-called ‘informal sector’ of their economy often dwarfs the so-called ‘formal’ sector. Large companies rely on small-scale entrepreneurs to distrib- ute their product. Low delta markets, are the various developed countries, that have until recently experienced low incidents of market changes. Te Institute for the Future, suggests that the high delta markets provide an “important glimpse into understanding the future of low-delta markets.”1 Successful organisations in high


delta markets are built to benefit from volatility and diversity. Nassim


Taleb’s book Antifragile: things that gain from disorder, would be appli- cable to these high delta markets. Douglas Brew, from Unilever Af-


rica, notes that “volatility will remain. Handling that volatility will require a change in mind-set in terms of how to manage investors’ expectations as the continent becomes a bigger share of global revenue”. According to a recent study by Euromonitor Inter- national, emerging markets account for 90 per cent of the global popula- tion aged under 30 years. Heffernan warned, “we don’t see things that are too far away”, but these facts are only geographically ‘far away’.


Experiments and lesson learnt from high delta markets


Trusted networks Fan Milk supplies milk, yoghurt and ice-cream to seven countries in West Africa, generating revenues of over US $170 million. Tey scaled their business by using trusted networks of people, today they have over 25,000 agents and vendors. Long before Uber provided a curated network, with the request checks-and-balances to verify, Fan Milk was already established in the 1960s. Kirshbaum describes Fan Milk’s


network as “flexible and mobile – as demographics and transport shift, the network can adapt nearly instantly without any central co-ordination by Fan Milk”. Tey have developed a trusted network of employees, which they call on for on-demand labour, also known today as the “freelance economy”. Another example of this trusted network is the part- nership between DHL using Uber cars in Lagos to deliver packages.


Freelance economy Freelance economy, or on-demand labour, Forbes estimates will con- tribute toward 50 per cent of the US workforce. Crowd-sharing technolo- gies are taking unused resources and providing them with opportunities. Kirshbaum explains that this freelance economy model has been a standard modus operandi in high delta markets for decades, noting that the freelance economy “business model (was) created to cope with volatile and uncertain employment environments. Tat plat- form-based work is now outcompeting


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