What sorts of attitudes and behaviors does it take to move up the ladder in your organization?
If you work for a large company, chances are upward momentum favors steady qualities like compliance, caution, and consensus over speedy traits like imagination, initiative, and improvisation. That's the nature of the beast. Big business is designed to move forward according to plan, at a measured and deliberate pace.
Back when the attention and obedience of consumers could be bought with media advertising, this worked reasonably well. Big business was able to set the pace.
Today, though, with only limited guidance from mass media, consumers set the pace. Left to their own devices, they imagine all sorts of things. They take unpredictable initiatives. They improvise all over the map at high speed.
Having for generations selectively bred such rash traits out of the corporate DNA, it now takes a huge and deliberate effort for big business to adopt a real-time, customer-driven mind-set. Most large companies can't even get their heads around the idea.
I've talked with people all over the world who are wrestling with the challenge, and most are not at all comfortable with adopting a real-time mind-set. It's not on the corporate agenda or the business-school curriculum. And when the notion is put to them, many people dismiss quick response to opportunities and threats as "reckless" or "risky."
Attitudes are so ingrained that even when confronted with ...