Innovation versus Transformation

January 18, 2023

An image of a butterfly highlighting innovation or transformation

Does it feel like change is happening faster in 2023 than it did in 2022?  

It is. 

Last week I delivered a keynote at a hybrid conference for mortgage professionals.  I spoke about how to Navigate Change with Confidence and Excitement. Prior to my keynote, I was briefed on the staggering number of changes affecting them. In fact, the organizers told they are experiencing more changes now than in the last twenty years.  During my presentation, I listed some of the disruptions occurring in their company. Following this I said, “if any of you think that this is a lot of change, let me hear you say, “Oh yeah!” Their response was deafening.

During the course of my presentation, we explored my strategy called Empowered Change.  We learned about the dynamics of change, how to prepare ourselves for disruption and most importantly how to transform ourselves during the process of change. 

Following my keynote, I debriefed with the Chief People Officer. She told me that my presentation couldn’t have been more timely!  And then she told me why it was timely.  During my keynote another major disruption had happened in their industry. She had pleaded with her team members, “Whatever you do, do not send out any information during Mark’s keynote! Wait until he’s done.” It would have probably have thrown them into a panic. 

I vividly remember how the attendees already thought they had gone through enough change. Now, they have another one to deal with. 

That begs the question, how do we deal with change when we already feel saturated by disruption? It begins with a change in mindset. We need to get use to the idea that change is here to stay. And that it’s changing at exponential rates.  Bill Gates says, “Most people tend to overestimate the rate of change that will occur on a two-year basis, and underestimate the rate of change that will occur in ten years. 

If that’s true, what kind of changes will happen in ten years?  Futurists predict that in the next decade our world and your business will look nothing like it does today. To help us prepare for the future, Futurist Jim Carroll published “23 trends for 2023”.  One of his trends was jarring;  Carroll wrote, “Don’t think innovation, think transformation.” 

During the last three years, there has been a growing focus on innovation as way to keep up with change. Leaders were encouraged to create cultures of innovation, where employees increased their creativity, elastic thinking and problem solving;  not long ago, Marginal Gains was a popular approach to increase innovation. The idea is this: deconstruct the organization and make small, incremental improvements in each area. When the pieces are put back together, the cumulative effect of these marginal gains will have a profound effect on the organization. And then, Jim Carroll tells us to refocus on transformation, not innovation. Innovation versus Transformation?

It’s clear that the future is accelerating; massive disruption is happening across many industries at alarming rates; we live in a VUCA world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Carroll writes, “ leaders in 2023 need to go big with their alignment to obvious disruptive future trends (transformation) rather than just nibbling around the edges with continuous small steps (innovation.) In other words, everything needs to change; going forward in such a world means business will be fundamentally different. Bill Gate’s conclusion on the rate of change was, “Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”  The actions required are organizational transformation and personal transformation.

My mission is to future-proof you and your people, navigating change with confidence and excitement.  Imagine a new way to change: unhurried, composed, and confident instead of the usual frenzy, chaos, and uncertainty. My strategy is Empowered Change, transforming the pace of change and drive sustainable success by providing a clear roadmap for navigating the stages of change.

Click to download the Empowered Change Strategy.

Check out Mark DeVolder’s book Perpetual Pivot: How the Best Leaders Adapt to Exponential Change. He provides valuable insights, answers and solutions about change management, transition, leadership, engagement and teamwork.

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