“The financial crisis was not an isolated phenomenon, but a symbol of shifts in the global economy, which has implications for business throughout the world,” said Gill Ringland, chairman and a fellow of SAMI Consulting and co-author with Oliver Sparrow and Patricia Lustig of Beyond Crisis. She was speaking at an SPS event, which took the book as its basis, and explored what organisations could do to thrive in the new environment.
Ringland discussed the seismic shifts in the global economy that had left organisations “trying as hard as they had ever done but finding they were unable to produce the results”.
She explained that issues have been created because so much is changing so quickly in the world, from demographic changes that will fundamentally alter the balance of power in the global economy, to environmental changes. She says “There are incredible forces at work within each organisation and in the outside world which have left the internal structures and practices of the business unable to cope. We are in uncharted territory. The problem is you don’t learn in business school how to deal with this kind of change.”
The solution, she identified was to rebuild the organisation as a purposeful self-renewing organisation (PSRO) which can adapt to these changes successfully. She then outlined the qualities an organisation needs in order to become a PSRO: a narrative, insight, values and the machinery – or tools to make it work. She said: “Narrative and values create clarity of purpose, while insight gives you the ability to think analytically and intelligently about the possibilities in the future, and the machinery ensures it happens effectively.”
Patricia Lustig, a SAMI fellow, visiting executive fellow at Henley Business School and a co-author of the book then took participants through a process to identify the leverage points and ‘quick wins’, they could take back to their organisation in order to help them benefit from the attributes of a PSRO. Among the suggestions were identifying the early warning signs of change and incorporating that into horizon scanning, encouraging employees to participate in the strategic cycle and ensuring feedback loops across the organisation, and creating events to enable employees to participate in contributing their visions of the future.