Is Your Business Model Under Attack? 4 Core Questions Every Organization Must Ask


Rapidly changing market conditions can be disorienting. But they are only one reason why organizations often fail when they try to respond.

Buzzwords like “digital transformation,” “consumerization,” or “operational excellence,” can energize the need for strategic change and they can also create a “business model crisis” that feels like an “attack.” In fact, many business leaders experience a glut of ideas that they need to execute in order to defend revenue, retain customers, or preserve profit. Sadly, many fail to prioritize and execute these ideas.

What we have learned at Business Change Leader is that there are two root causes why most organizations struggle and/or fail to deliver on these needs for strategic change:

  1. Ineffective Strategic Decision Making
    They fail to ask, “What are the most important actions and in what optimal sequence should we execute them?”

  2. Immature Organizational Muscle
    They fail to explore, “What internal core competencies do we have vs what do we need to successfully respond to the rapidly changing market conditions?”

A Necessary Change in Perspective

The same leadership styles, mindsets, and behaviors that led you to your current success, often do not serve you well in responding to radical change. The pace of decision making increases when markets shift. Thus, leadership needs to maintain pace with their decisions. The need to decide fast based on imperfect information, learn from your decisions, and re-decide becomes a competitive differentiator.

Step #1 is Awareness. How would you describe your company decision making process? Does it model an iterative, rapid course correction style, or is it stuck in a high need to be correct as measured by historical standards?

Then, once you make your strategic decisions, how do you translate them to influence the discretionary effort of your employees and providers to enthusiastically execute on the decisions?

The Need to Orchestrate Prioritization

In any rapidly changing environment, it may seem necessary to do dozens of things at once. Organizations can't do it all, so how do they decide which should be done first? The decision process is frequently unmanaged, unguided, and unscripted. It gets left to whatever the first line manager decides he or she wants to do that day, which may or may not align to the strategic decisions or priorities.

In a time when the pressure is on, failing to provide strategic orchestration can lead to market, customer, financial, and operational performance decline… and fast! With an objective, well orchestrated, and transparent strategic decision making process, you can put yourself in the best possible position to win by aligning your resources to deliver in a coordinated fashion.

Execution Takes Organizational Muscle

With a high-performing strategic decision making process, companies then need the organizational muscle to execute. In digital transformations, new core competencies like big data, artificial intelligence, customer & employee self-service, and enterprise mobility need to be built. They are built using new muscles that previously were not core to your organization’s DNA.

How do you build them? These new organizational competencies are built one project at a time through internal or externally sourced resources that are able to think, act, and relate to each other in a new way.

Do you have a vision and plan to bring your people and projects together to build the new version of your company? Do you know what internal muscle you can lean on today to make this happen?

People Make It Happen… or Not

Finally, you need people to decide and deliver. I have been in and around dozens of business model crises. To put a very human example on the table, say an individual who joined the company 20 years has a strong preference to do a particular kind of work. Even though they know that “this preferred work” is not in the strategic direction of the business, they continue doing it, undermining the strategic direction. In fact, they may disagree with the strategic direction. Furthermore, they may really like doing the work that they are familiar with. So, strategic change be damned, they keep doing what they have always done because it's what they like, draw personal value from, or keeps their situation safe. That kind of late resistance can scuttle the best plans for strategic change.

What Can Be Done In the Face of These Kinds of Challenges?

The Business Change Leader Capability Model facilitates strategic change by posing the following four questions:

  1. Are we working on the right things?

  2. Are we delivering things well?

  3. Are we creating customer value?

  4. Are we improving ourselves along the way?

Are we working on the right things? What's the strategy and are we actually focused on our highest value most important to the business work?

Are we delivering things well for the work that we've strategically said is the most important? Are our resources delivering in a manner that progresses the achievement of our strategy?

Are we creating customer value in doing so, not just value for individual executives such as a SVP or EVP, but are we creating customer value that is appreciated outside the company. What customer-focused problems are we solving in the digital space?

Are we improving ourselves along the way? There's a current process you have to deliver improvements, and you accelerate your strategic change by optimizing it along the way.

Posing these questions is a provocative move that gets people’s attention. In fact, these are questions that executives are often thinking but not necessarily vocalizing. They can feel them, see them, appreciate them in their business; but, business model disruption requires leaders to act on them.

The Business Change Leadership Capability Model

We have walked in the shoes of the executives and employees described above. We have harvested our experiences into a model that can accelerate your time to value. Our services are the most complete, actionable, and configurable Enterprise Transformation services available to companies and their leaders. Based on world class best-practices and our global transformational experience in multiple industries, our model contains a comprehensive set of capabilities organized into three pillars:

  • Drive the Strategy – How are you driving the company to define, commit, and course correct delivery of your strategic intentions?

  • Unleash the People – How do you facilitate the people, organization, and culture changes so the desired benefits are adopted and sustained?

  • Implement the Value – How do you set your people up to deliver, measure & monitor the implementation of strategic intentions?

Our uniqueness comes from being:

  • Complete. Our model includes all the capabilities that companies need to implement their bold strategies based on best-practices and experience. Most models orient from a singular domain like people, process, or technology. Ours is more inclusive than any other helping you to assemble a diverse set of disciplines and be better prepared to successfully delivery your strategies.

  • Actionable. Many capability models are designed to describe business concepts that are vague like structure, style, or skills that are difficult for senior leaders to evaluate and ascertain if they are truly prepared for the transformational agenda they are embarking on with their colleagues. Our capability model is competency based and written in straight-forward business language, so that senior leaders can evaluate their enterprise and determine which investments in which competencies are needed to accelerate the implementation of their strategy.

  • Configurable. Our model can be integrated in many ways to match your industry, business model, leadership, and culture. We love process and methodology, and so do many of our clients. We work with your existing processes and methods to align them to our capability model and determine how efficient and effective they are towards achieving your goals. If you are not that strong in process or methodology, that’s OK too, we can help you identify how much process is good enough to achieve your desired outcomes.

  • Learning Oriented. We continually refine our approach, to harvest learnings from client to client, as a capability within our model. We value a learning environment within our client’s transformations, and we strive to role model our values in our work. By embedding the learnings into the model you get the benefit of our experience.

I look forward to hearing from you and to answering any questions you many have. Please click here to start a conversation.