Written for EO by Nis Frome, cofounder of Alpha, an on-demand customer insights platform.
If success in the digital age were as simple as calling for a transformation or reorganization, companies born in the industrial age would be thriving and there’d be no Netflix, Uber or Airbnb. That’s clearly not the case, though.
According to Harvard Business Review, a study of 57 reorganizations found that fewer than one-third of the reorgs produced any meaningful improvement in performance. In fact, despite the potential that each reorganization and polished PowerPoint presentation promises, “Most had no effect, and some actually destroyed value,” the study concluded. You might say that, as a Fortune 500 executive recently told me (only half-jokingly), that “reorganizations are highly successful, if you’re a management consulting firm.”
And yet, there are a few notable examples of so-called “traditional” organizations successfully returning to their innovative roots.