The Business Book

(Joyce) #1


See also: Managing risk 40–41 ■ Reinventing and adapting 52–57 ■ Creativity
and invention 72–73 ■ Avoiding complacency 194–201


swiftly to change. Such companies
collaborate more readily with
external partners, rather than merely
transacting with them, to encourage
adaptability and shared learning.

Creativity from chaos
A potential source of chaos is
internal change and reorganization
of a company. Involving and
engaging the employees is the
answer to managing this. In the
most complex financial services
integration ever to occur in Europe,
Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS)
was acquired by Lloyds TSB
following the financial crisis of 2008.
External chaos (unprecedented
economic turbulence) was mirrored
by internal chaos—6,000 branches
and 30 million customers had to be
brought together to form the biggest

retail bank in the UK. The new
company had to create one new
identity, one new way of doing things,
and streamline its IT systems and
differing organizational cultures. It
also needed ways of communicating
positively to customers.
But the biggest challenge of
all was common to many situations
of business chaos—motivating
employees who were harassed by
customers and worried about their
own jobs. Through constant
communication (including daily
team briefings on internal changes),
workshops on team problem solving
and vision building, and measures
for gathering ideas from staff and
customers, the combined companies
showed that chaos can not only be
managed, but may be a rich source
of growth for a business in flux. ■

Thriving on chaos

Thriving on Chaos, written
by US business expert Tom
Peters, was published on
“Black Monday” (October 19,
1987), when stock markets
around the world crashed.
His timing could not have
been better. In the book Peters
laid out a future of change,
stating that everything known
“for sure” about management
would be challenged—and
that 100-year-old traditions
of mass production and mass
markets would be threatened.
His forecast was correct. What
had been a fairly predictable
business environment
disappeared; organizations
and managers had to embrace
change, or face collapse.
Peters correctly predicted
that the business winners
of the future would deal
proactively with chaos,
seeing it as a source of market
advantage. Successful
companies would be those
who could create and add
quality and value continually
to their products and services
in response to the ever-
shifting desires of their
customers. He described
this as “a revolution.”

There is no sense in pining
for the past—the stability we
took for granted for so long
will never return.
Tom Peters

Economic, social, and
political events
create chaos.

Rigid control no longer works—businesses need to be flexible.

If employees are given more information and involvement,
they become more creative, helping the company to be
flexible and change.

Chaos brings uneasiness, but it also allows
for creativity and growth.

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