Big Picture

Redesigning an asymmetric organization undergoing survival imbroglio

CEO’s need to study weak signals, anticipate and translate into a foresight, manoeuvring the survival imbroglio. VUCA has several forms, some ‘expected-known-unknown’ to the extreme version ‘unexpected-unknown-unknown’. Which category does your business fall into? Have you dissected the asymmetricity in your organization? We were inspired from selected seminal papers, ground research while drawing some wisdom. The CEO’s trying to vacillate between ‘irrationally-rational’ to rationally-rational must keep the market equilibrium.

Lessons: How to face the survival imbroglio?

To survive in the new normal, being innovative is paramount, one must rethink: 1. How to reinvent our Customers? 2. How to Change our mind set? 3. How to add to the Customer’s value? 4. How to Identify the core competence, harness it? 5. When to dump products & business, which outlived their times? 6. How and when to Identify & develop niche markets? 7. How to create distinctive long-term competitive positions? 8. How and when to Invest in raising company competitive position?

How to Reinvent our Customers?

Reinventing the customers will be one additional area of thrust as business war compounds to the complexity within market. Seize the customer’s new needs and opportunities trying to adapt rapidly. Listen to frontline sales people to recognise changing needs. Change is the only constant phenomenon. Always ask constantly- why does this customer buy the product?

How to Change the Mindset?

Move away from the comfort zones created by years of protection that does not yield any positive performance. Recognise the customer’s choice considering the shift may occur to a new market with increased bargain power. Also recognise competition is more severe than ever before. Please accept it! Look at long term gains instead of short-term market exploitation and move from opportunism to strategy. Always insist on quality.

How to Add to the Customer Value?

Problem – solving services add value to products. The customer always desires that the solutions are nearer to him. Be constantly innovative with strategic segmenting. Customising, Customer education are critical and after sales service follow up must be proactively taken.

How to identify the core Competence and Develop upon it?

Don’t jump the flagship just because you see a market opportunity in turbulent times. Consistent efforts to balance the market needs and proactively attempting bridging gaps between supply-demand is must. Harnessing upon core competencies are critical. Image building on an unrelated product or service takes major efforts & expense but can be also productive. Customer confidence is supreme in your proven field of competency.

When to dump products & business which outlived their times?

Recognise obsolescence & act ruthlessly. It is time to dump the old product and attempt for the new ones as desired. Customer’s choice is the only imperative to be innovative. Competition has strictly demanded frequent adoption and adaptation in product/service/process changes suiting the need to deliver higher productivity and value to customer. It is true that yesterday’s bread winners may be today’s expense guzzlers

How and when to Identify & Develop Niche Markets?

It is important to avoid being a generalist in the industry. One may be swept away. Therefore, develop your niche markets & strive to achieve excellence. Focus on markets is the only sure way to succeed

How to create distinctive long-term competitive positions?

Do get away from price wars and me-too competitive strategies. Do not strive to increase market share in existing markets. Aim at developing new markets. The emergence of changing buying patterns during pandemic times has cascaded purchase power parity leading to creation of newer market opportunities. Competing on differentiation will matter. Hunt!

How and when to Invest in raising company competitive position?

Retaining the best in the industry, the enterprise will have to invest in developing human capital. Constant training to be contemporary is important. Usage of modern information systems will be required. It is an internet-based world with a strong IT framework.

Business ventures both in the product or market area, whether it is in the rural or urban sector, must rethink. Dedicate some time collecting and researching, which business idea or extension will click. Draw out the market size with appropriate timings for entry in the new market. Always have some contingency plans for exit. Focus on the vision and build a foresight, tapering on signals and your own anticipatory framework. Have your long-term objectives clearly spelt out by now in the pandemic time? Be adventurous as an ‘innovative entrepreneur’ encountering and endeavouring in to new markets.


“Market & customer adoration” will drive & lead to innovation towards enterprise performance with turbulence deepening its roots. Innovation will therefore become paramount to any business process. Ideas will have to be provoking with ground reality. Competition will be tricky. New markets need to be created and explored. This can happen only when the CEO and the new team of thinkers draft an escape plan, re-route their journey, both creating newer products, services, customer and markets as they march ahead. The asymmetric organization will have to be redesigned for encountering the survival imbroglio. Are you prepared? Thus, with VUCA having several forms, like ‘expected-known-unknown’ to the extreme version ‘unexpected-unknown-unknown’, how much are you exposed to? Think-research-study-examine-evaluate and act!

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Dr. Manoj Joshi
Dr. Manoj Joshi, is co-Author of "The VUCA Company”, “The VUCA Learner” and "VUCA in Start-ups". He is a Chartered Engineer and currently a Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship and Director, Centre for VUCA Studies, Amity University. He is the Regional Editor India, JFBM; IJSBA and an editorial board member for journals like APJM, JSBM, BSE, JEEE, WRMSED etc. His consulting includes VUCA strategy, travelled extensively with over 30 years of experience in areas of Screw pumps Design, Heat Exchangers, Loading Arms, consulting, research and teaching. He has a deep interest in dark matter, dark energy, astral travel, travelling to woods and life after death.

Dr. Manoj Joshi is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.