A Mandate for Change

in their struggle to adapt to the new forces affecting the development of emerging products and services, executives of many companies find themselves “drinking from a fire hose.” These managers are thirsty for answers but find it hard to handle all that is streaming at them: the volume of opportunities and demands, of ideas and con­straints, of potential directions and hurdles. The pressures of external competition, of internal management issues, and of financial hurdles are overwhelming. These often result in analysis paralysis and a lack of insight into where to proceed, leaving one trying to put out daily fires instead of working productively toward larger goals. Managers and VPs have been accustomed to being part of companies that buy and sell divisions and, in a sense, to being bought and sold themselves. As a result, they have constantly been under new CEo leadership and often have been required to move semiannually to newly acquired divisions, where their assignment is to obtain unreal­istic results in the new environment with new personnel.

Executives have been handed a new mandate: Grow the business using innovation, and do it organically using the company’s existing resources, outsourcing only as needed. If that is not enough, they have been told they cannot compromise on manufacturing quality. Now that salary raises and career advancement are based on staying in one place long enough to establish cycles of innovation, managers are chal­lenged to find methods and tools that are replicable and that connect to corporate strategy to grow market share and brand loyalty.