always knocks at the least opportune
time. Ducharme’s Precept
The effect of change: Opportunities
arise through change, whether to the marketplace, legislation, population
profiles or technology. An organization needs to promote and encourage an
environment where opportunities can be recognized and taken advantage of.
All the elements in our
model are susceptible to change, either through natural developments, conscious
effort or as a result of external influences. The model can be used as an agenda
or checklist to look for elements where change and therefore opportunities may
occur. What appears at first sight to be a problem, often develops into an opportunity
- restrictive legislation on the safety of cars enabled safety awareness to be
exploited and allowed car maker Volvo to become associated with safer cars. We
know of a local council that had problems attracting staff with the right skills
and set up their own training department to correct the problem and then used it
to train staff from other neighbouring councils.
competencies: Recognizing the
organization's core competencies enables
opportunities to be exploited in other sectors. Systems integrator ICL built up a good reputation for training people in computer topics and was able to build on this
to offer courses on other subjects such as project management and business
consultancy. They realized that they had a competency in organizing and running
training courses rather than just a knowledge of computers!
Being first: Market surveys are one way of recognizing
opportunities. However, the problem is that other organizations
will have picked up on the trends too. Opportunities arise from doing novel
things. Car maker Rover, took the concept of the Second World War Jeep and used
it to produce the Land Rover - a four-wheel drive vehicle for farmers. This
eventually became popular for taking children to school in the leafy suburbs - a
need that just would not have shown up in market surveys.
and the ability to change is key. The model can be used to assess each of the
elements in turn to see how well each can change to enable the organization to
take advantage of future opportunities. Management
should be scanning the horizon for possible new developments. Good sources are
research papers, activities of start-up companies, seminars on new topics,
industry press and think-tank output.