Author: Tim Cummins
'Disbelief and denial, a sense that this is just temporary and things will soon return to the way they were, aren't the ideal responses to change. Agility and adaptability are.'
History is littered with examples of organizations that did not adjust to change, or individuals who fought to restore their environment to the way it used to be. All these examples have something in common: they failed.
The introductory quote comes from an article in Chief Learning Officer magazine, calling on organizations to recognize the need to equip their people to understand the role they must play 'as uncertainty and volatility become the reality of business'.
It is in this context that commercial innovation becomes critical. While the challenges we face will certainly lead to the invention of new or adapted products and services, the priority right now is to develop fresh thinking and approaches to commercial relationships and frameworks.
How will this be achieved?
Some inspired individuals – the innovators – will certainly generate new ideas and approaches. Capturing and replicating their innovations – the imitators – is the key to widespread change. Organizations need to identify leaders and rapidly equip them with experiences that force them to adapt their thinking and understanding – for example, through immersive case studies or the challenge of solving intractable problems through working groups, such as hackathons.
But it's not just about preparing the individual to change. It's just as much about assessing your team's readiness for change. And that will be challenging for many businesses, especially since environmental change has already been thrust upon them with social distancing and home working.
Tackling these issues cannot wait until things return to normal – because that return isn't going to happen. So true leaders and smart organizations are taking steps now to equip key people to oversee the shift in commercial relationships and operations, and to understand and fill the gaps in their team's ability to work effectively in the new environment.
Working with those individuals and organizations is at the heart of IACCM's current work. Equipped with up-to-the-minute research, a dynamic portfolio of learning programs and workshops, on-line assessment tools and networks, the Association has shown itself uniquely positioned to support the development of agile and adaptable commercial capabilities.
Commerce re-imagined. That truly is the ideal response to change.