Find your rigidity and let go
Established players look with envy at the supple young start-ups that are taking their business and winning customers. But there’s a lot they can do to regain their composure through being more flexible.
Each yoga class includes a quick “body scan” – you identify stiff joints, tight muscles and other points of rigidity, and work to make them more flexible. It’s a useful discipline that CP companies could learn from.
For example, is your portfolio weighed down with baggage? Brands create their own backstories in terms of loyalty, legacies, headcounts and history. Some of this is valuable. But it can become baggage, making it hard to manage-out underperforming brands, even if they’re steadily losing shelf space or share of wallet. CP companies must confront the idea that they might have to get smaller before they can get bigger again.
They shouldn’t be afraid to prune their portfolios when some products no longer fly off the shelves.
Or are you suffering with resource rigidity? The world is awash with sophisticated tools covering everything from big data analytics to executive dashboards and social media sentiment analysis. Yet many companies still favor cost-cutting over investment in innovation; they lack the flexibility needed to keep cost and investment in balance.
I explored these and other common forms of corporate rigidity at a Live CEO Debate with The Financial Times. You can read more of my thinking on the topic here. Each form of rigidity is a barrier to corporate success.
Companies that don’t shed their rigidity now and embrace innovation fast will lose out to rivals that can embrace disruption. As anyone who has tried yoga knows, toned and muscular is great, but you can’t beat flexibility. Organizations that don’t have it will be stuck in the Corpse Pose.
This blog was originally published on LinkedIn, July 2016, under the headline “Flex to Success: Taking the Values of Yoga to the Consumer Products Boardroom.”