When Change Is Necessary: 4 Indicators

Jim Ward, the CEO of the Phoenix Symphony, has been a celebrated marketing executive (his team helped develop Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign) and CEO at Lucas Arts, George Lucas’ incredibly successful film company.

After years of successful leadership experience, he has identified four powerful indicators for when organizational change may be necessary in order to effectively exploit opportunities in a marketplace:

  • When a marketplace becomes too complex, there is considerable opportunity for anyone who can simplify the product or service (e.g. Apple’s 1984 Mac campaign led to explosive sales with a very simple and easy-to-use product).
  • When a marketplace becomes too inert, there is an opportunity to make it more dynamic (e.g. Microsoft 95 shook up the world of the stodgy MS DOS).
  • When a marketplace becomes too dogmatic, there is an opportunity to make it more adaptive (e.g. Nike’s introduction of Tiger Woods in the late 90s effectively countered the elitist, Caucasian image of golf and greatly expanded the marketplace).
  • When a market becomes too unprincipled, there is an opportunity to make it more authentic (e.g. Lucas Arts successful release of one of the Star Wars films trailers in 1997 – spending less than $5 million on a marketing campaign that generated $435 million in the US).

In almost any market environment or company, one or more of these factors are operating at any given time.  Rather than being seen as problems, they signal the possibility for change and innovation that can strengthen your company’s market position with a creative perspective and the will to act. Are any of these indicators present in your organization or marketplace today?