Just had to pour some cooling water over another bit of hype on this issue. Harvard Business Publishing just promoted ‘Constant Transformation Is the New Normal‘ by Scott Anthony. See below for my reponse:
Please be careful about this kind of journalistic hype! There are plenty of less-thoughtful folk out there who will just pick up the headlines and set off doing dumb things urged on by discussions like this.
‘Transformation’ is about the most exaggerated and over-sold concept in strategy these days. The reality for most organizations is that they should – boring though it may sound – just press on with continuous improvement and careful business development. Getting their top management worked up about transformation risks distracting them from the critical task of actually running the business and building strong performance.
Many examples that get this kind of hype are either glaringly obvious or modest adjustments to existing business. Netflix is hardly being a strategic genius in seeing it needs to deal with streaming, and plenty of companies see benefits in focusing on specific niches without claiming it’s a ‘total transformation’.
Unfortunately, a tranformational approach to an otherwise decent business can do extreme damage – anyone fancy selling a few sub-prime mortgages? .. how about another Enron? .. or maybe eBay should hook up with Skype and transform the way their buyers and sellers transact?