7 adaptive enterprise qualities

The adaptive enterprise is one that not only successfully weathers change in the environment, but one that leads the charge through the change and comes out on top.

whisper secret animals
Credit: flickr/Rennett Stowe

Evolution is slow. Period.

Don’t tell me that my company needs to evolve to survive when really you’re telling me it’s already too late and I’m only hanging on by a single thread. Bring in the swarms of consultants to help optimize and plan multi-year transformations. That may have worked a decade or more ago, but not anymore.

In today’s world, taking the time to evolve leads to extinction of your business. What do many businesses attempt to do? They try to become more agile. Agility isn’t bad, but it sets an interesting tone of being able to move more quickly. Moving quickly isn’t enough, though. To survive you need to adapt.

Adaptation is about making the small changes to survive over time. It represents the pruning of characteristics and traits that aren’t beneficial to survival, doubling down on those that are and being able to make decisions quickly to stay ahead of the competition.

The adaptive enterprise is one that not only successfully weathers change in the environment, but one that leads the charge through the change and comes out on top. What does it mean to be an adaptive enterprise?

  • Scalable - grows with ease to serve changing and growing customer needs
  • Extensible - augments existing business capabilities with new ones in an integrated and seamless fashion
  • Responsive - reacts quickly to changing situations to take advantage of the opportunity
  • Forward Leaning - innovates into the new business opportunities
  • Market Driving - changes the market game against the competition through innovation and preparedness
  • Modular - consists of discrete business components that can be used to rapidly assemble new capabilities on-demand
  • A Leader - is a step ahead of the competition with a voice of its own and as an inspiration to others

Is your organization truly adaptive, or do business and market forces have you constantly rethinking business and technology strategy? Are the people in your organization able to adapt to changing technology and business drivers to enable your business to lead in its space? Are you ready for what comes after digitization and poised to implement rather than play catch up to the next big thing?

The people that will lead this charge are the CIOs, CTOs, enterprise architects, and the astute business executives who embrace adaptability and understand that we can no longer talk about alignment of business and technology strategy. The business of today requires the seamless integration of business and technology, where change can be enacted at speed and scale. Speed and scale that only an adaptive enterprise brings.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll take you deep into each of these qualities of the adaptive enterprise with practical techniques that can be acted on today to create the foundation for adaptability.

This is about changing the business, changing the game. This is about survival of the fittest, just as the small mammals adapted to survive during the downfall of the dinosaurs. This is about becoming the adaptive enterprise.

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