To get a sense of the degree to which companies struggle with innovation and change, consider these two points: 1) despite great technological advances, we struggle with many of the same problems that we faced years ago, and 2) few companies are able to hold their positions on the Fortune 500 list.
The punchline to the story that we’re living in a changing world, is the fact that “we’re working on a lot of the same problems” that we faced in the 1970s, says Chris Laping, co-founder and CEO of People Before Things and former CIO of Red Robin.
Forty years later, why are we stuck trying to solve the same old problems? Laping says the best answer he can come up with “is that we must be really good at making problems go away, but perhaps we’re not good at solving problems.”
And, even as organizations are marching to the drumbeat of constant innovation, not many are faring so well on that front either: “If you go back to 1955 and you look at the Fortune 500 companies, do you know that only 12 percent of those companies are still in the Fortune 500 today. And, in fact, if you go from 1999 to 2009, what you would find is that in that 10-year period 50 percent of the companies fell out.”
So we’re failing to change and we’re failing to innovate, but the issue isn’t with how smart companies, or the people who lead them, are, Laping says, but rather with how they drive change.
In his presentation at the CIO 100 Symposium in August, Laping outlined three conditions that leaders influence that drive change. “When we do these things well, the end users will accept technology well,” says Laping. “When we don’t do them well, I can assure you that the organization will push back.”
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