This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

March 17, 1999

Strategic Agility

The secret to success in the years ahead will be something we call "strategic agility". . . being quick on your feet, nimble, responsive, always alert.

The velocity of change continues to increase. Opportunities pop up like images on a fast-moving video game. Our position in the ever-shifting environment of competitiveness and innovation keeps moving like a paramecium under a microscope. The secret is to be able to respond rapidly while maintaining your stability and balance. Think of the frog on the lily pad—ever alert, carefully balanced, ready to snatch the next hapless fly that comes within range.

The images of strength are changing. The big tree with the deep roots is strong, but so is the big tree with the widely-spread shallow root system. Deeply driven spikes have their place, but Velcro® also holds well . . . and breaks free easier.

To position yourself—and your company—for the rippling and turbulent ride into the future, avoid being bound by past methods, rules, perspectives, or procedures that may not work today . . . and certainly won't work in the future. Let go of the old, embrace the new. Challenge "what's always worked" to be sure you're not limiting yourself.

Aggressively build greater knowledge—of yourself, your collaborators, resources, response mechanisms, competitors, operating environment, emerging markets, and the world around you. No matter how much you think you know now, accept the feeling that you're behind. Things are changing that quickly.

Don't try to be fully knowledgeable about everything. You can't do it anymore. There's too much information available; the overload can become confusing, overwhelming, and burdensome. Surround yourself with a network of co-workers, friends, colleagues, and other "collaborators" who share with you and each other. Remember the definition of a successful person is not he who knows all, but she who knows where to get the knowledge that is needed.

The key question is "why." Keep asking why. Peel off the layers to find the core truth about what you are doing and what you want to do in the future. Learn, adapt.

© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3548 or To sign up, visit The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

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