Do Good, Grow Beyond
To go beyond great, companies today must do good and maximize their Total Societal Impact TSI, a goal that over the long term will enable them to also grow shareholder returns.
Your company has likely taken important steps to address pressing social and environmental problems, but how far have you really transformed your core strategies to maximize social impact?
Research has revealed three pathways that leading socially responsible companies are mobilizing, either singly or in combination, to maximize their net societal impact while also realizing exceptional growth and shareholder value. These are as follows: (1) expand access to your products and services, (2) let societal needs drive innovation, and (3) partner with local government to create economic opportunity.
Stream It, Don’t Ship It
Global companies are rapidly evolving their value propositions, going beyond traditional, product-oriented offerings to create exciting new solutions and experiences.
Mobilizing digital connectivity and IoT technologies, companies are layering new digital services onto existing physical products (servitization). Yesterday’s companies shipped their way into customers’ hearts and wallets. Tomorrow’s will ship and stream their way in.
Consumer companies like Whirlpool are embracing servitization, but so are industrial companies such as Philips, Rolls-Royce, and Caterpillar. Firms like Netflix, Apple, and Pandora offer purely digital forms of servitization.
Companies are customizing their offerings at scale (personalization) and developing solutions that combine servitization and customization.
Companies like Niantic, Netflix, and Alibaba are increasingly targeting global consumers irrespective of their locations.
Refine Your Global Game
Certain underlying beliefs that drove globalization in the last century no longer hold. Companies are refining and optimizing their global presence, adopting a seemingly contradictory playbook for profitable global expansion that goes beyond traditional scale and asset-heavy growth strategies.
Firms as diverse as Xiaomi, Alibaba, and Bajaj Auto are going asset light, pursuing swift, wide-scale global expansions without building expensive new infrastructure or mobilizing large teams (a feat made possible by relying on digital and local partners).
When it comes to managing large existing physical footprints rather than rolling out a new business model, incumbent companies like Tata Steel and Cemex are rethinking whether it still makes sense to play in every major market. Others are adopting strategies that allow them to move into and out of markets quickly as economic conditions change. It’s about smart growth, not growth everywhere.
Where companies do engage, they are doing so more deeply. With economic and geopolitical fragmentation on the rise, it no longer makes sense to apply a standard operational template across countries in an attempt to drive efficiency. Instead, companies like Bridgestone, Siemens, and Alibaba are adopting a country-first mindset and local-for-global strategies.
Engineer an Ecosystem
To deliver the pathbreaking digital services and experiences and the global growth strategies evoked companies are going beyond traditional supply chains to create dynamic delivery networks, or ecosystems, of cross-industry partners.
Much of the attention previously paid to ecosystems has been superficial, leaving business leaders unsure how best—or even whether—to pursue them. As alluring as ecosystems are as a basis for disruption, they remain maddeningly difficult to execute.
The secrets of successful ecosystems include the following: the existence of a strong strategy, creation of a significant global footprint, the existence of sufficient depth of partnership expertise, possession of a strong existing business with large numbers of customers, and the ability to manage the more complex web of relationships that make up digital ecosystems.
Flex How You Make It
The so-called global delivery model, or low-labor cost-driven global supply chain, is becoming increasingly obsolete. Managing production is no longer just about minimizing costs but about also achieving more speed, flexibility, and resilience for the enterprise.
Looking beyond the shoe industry, we find a similar movement toward more flex manufacturing beginning to take place among large industrial companies.
As much as multicountry networks are helping companies make delivery more flexible and responsive in addition to low cost, they aren’t enough. Companies are also dramatically rethinking their broader supply chains.
To meet the growing needs for digitized products and services, global companies are rapidly adding an entirely new dimension to their delivery models: digital and software development.
Let the Data Run Through It
Leading-edge firms are going beyond by building powerful global data architectures capable of turning the fuel of digital information into more efficient processes, better pricing, and more valuable products, services, and experiences. Connecting users seamlessly to platforms and partners around the world, these data architectures comprise a new kind of supply chain for the twenty-first-century enterprise, designed strategically to drive growth and unlock massive amounts of value.
Your firm can mobilize data as a springboard for leaping ahead of the competition, even if your existing strategies and IT systems are out of date and your legacy data is local and fragmented. The first step is to build the right data-advantaged operating model for your business.
four distinct platform pathways companies are pursuing when turning data into fuel. Understanding these pathways can help you orient your company and shape its efforts to build a powerful digital supply chain of its own. These pathways are as follows: (1) reimagining your business processes and internal operations, (2) leveraging expertise at scale, (3) collaboratively creating and amplifying solutions to a global customer base, and (4) building a new business by attacking large value pools.
Once you’ve considered how you might best use global data strategically to fuel your business, the next step is to round out your digital operating model by designing a digital architecture or supply chain. This entails making three high-level decisions: (1) how to craft a platform for your data, (2) how to organize data flows, and (3) how to source your tech talent.
Get Focused, Fast, and Flat
To remain competitive, these companies will have to develop new levels of coordination and collaboration across and beyond their formal organizations. They will have to render their organizations more dynamic, fluid, and even amoeba-like, all in the service of a defining purpose or reason for being.
If incumbents don’t update their organizations in the years ahead, adopting three interwoven experiments—(1) customer-focused teams, (2) agile ways of working, and (3) enablement platforms—they’ll jeopardize their ability to execute the strategies.
As companies move beyond the matrix and adopt customer-focused teams, agile ways of working, and enablement platforms to become more fluid, they’re attending to two essential supportive areas: (1) cultural change and (2) leadership development.
Thrive with Talent
In the years ahead, companies must strive to thrive with talent, putting people and their needs first rather than regarding them as resources to exploit.
Creating a steady pipeline of top talent today means going beyond traditional tactics (career fairs, campus outreach programs, and lateral hires) and applying far more creativity and open-mindedness in whom you select, where you find them, and how you appeal to them. Leading-edge firms are building, buying, borrowing, and bridging when it comes to talent.
Companies have long motivated their workforces by focusing on extrinsic incentives, such as salary increases and bonuses. Such incentives still matter for new talent, but leading-edge companies are also working hard to ensure that work is meaningful.
Attracting and inspiring talented young employees won’t be enough for most companies to meet their talent needs. Companies must take steps to teach their existing workforce new skills and behaviors, what some have termed upskilling and others reskilling.
Embrace Always-On Transformation
Tata chairman N. Chandrasekaran put it, “Innovation and change has to be deeply embedded in the DNA of the company.”
Winning at such an endurance contest means building up a fundamentally new kind of transformation capacity inside your organization. Inspired by Microsoft’s story, as well as research into transformation programs at more than one hundred companies, we’ve developed an approach you can use—an adaptation of BCG’s head-heart-hands model of transformation—to increase your odds of success with always-on change.
Companies can’t just attend to their people (the heart of traditional, best-practice transformation) in hopes of succeeding with always-on transformation. They have to make the heart their central focus by attending to purpose, culture, empathy, and leadership.
With change initiatives shifting, overlapping with, and impacting one another, companies and leaders must fundamentally reset their and the organization’s ambitions (the head part of traditional transformation). They must articulate a far broader, more comprehensive understanding of where they’re going over the long term as well as how they’ll prioritize and focus to reach this desired state.
Traditional, best-practice transformation held that companies proactively cultivate agile ways of working (the hands of traditional transformation). To execute ongoing always-on transformation, companies must double down on agile and build an even nimbler set of hands by cultivating new capabilities and adopting strong governance models.