How about throwing conformity out the window? Premium

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70% of business leaders say, “We are unable to change — and thus adapt — because our companies are not open enough.” If conformity is undermining organizations, why not throw it out the window? This is what Michel Hébert suggests in his October contribution to Business Digest.

Refuse to conform
Market leaders including Kodak, Polaroid, and Leica collapsed because of their refusal to change and adapt to new market circumstances. They either disappeared or fell to the bottom of the heap because they conformed to outdated standards and stubbornly refused to alter mindsets and behaviors. They didn’t adapt, because they believed they could not change. Abandoning the status quo requires a willingness and determination to give up old-fashioned, conformist mindsets. It means embracing the notion of perpetual change to ensure your business remains in sync with a constantly evolving world.
Simple markets have given way to markets where companies are competing with tens of thousands of other firms in an undisciplined, non-linear world.

Tweaking mindsets
Do-it-yourselfers focus on solving problems in creative ways via trial and error. In business, people like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak proceeded in this way. As teenagers, they spent considerable time in their garages fiddling with electronic equipment. 30 years later, they had created Apple and become veritable legends of genius and invention. What does it take to foster a culture of fiddling and tweaking in your company? We have all heard that the current times make it necessary to think, decide, and act fast, but it is equally necessary to infuse structuring concepts like “strategy” and “vision” with greater flexibility, for such notions determine a business’s direction for years on end. Strategy and vision must also become adaptive, agile, and flexible. Indeed, shaking conformist reflexes involves introducing agility and flexibility into the concepts that need them.

Contribution from Michel Hébert, president of No-Logic Consulting, and based on his latest book, Le marketing de l’adaptation: le bricolage de la pensée (L’Harmattan, September 2014).