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Brain Circuits

Ready for the next landscape shift? Gauge your company’s agility now 

IbyIMD+ Published 8 November 2023 in Brain Circuits • 4 min read

Are you doing the right things to make your company future-ready? My research suggests you should be asking these four questions to find out. We studied companies that were more successful getting through a landscape shift as big as the pandemic in order to identify what they did differently.  

Is your company future-ready? Are you allocating your resources strategically to endure and prosper amid constant change? The pandemic exposed which companies were future-ready, or at least agile enough to change with lightning speed when the landscape shifted. Their readiness was clearly reflected in superior performance compared with their peers. We have studied these companies to identify what they were doing differently.

To test if you are doing the right things to be future-ready, you should look at these questions. 

What are the next seismic shifts?

This is the question all executives must constantly be asking about their industry. The better you can anticipate the next big disruptor, the easier it will be to leverage the shift in your company’s favor. You must always be ready to adjust your business practices.

Where are you putting your resources? 

We compared the strategies of successful companies, which really means we looked at where they put their resources. Strategy is just a pattern of resource allocation. Are you allocating resources to experimenting? Are you giving your employees room to try things and fail? You need to place small bets on lots of different strategies to test what works.

“Companies that LEAP early or are ready to LEAP when the landscape shifts are the ones that outperform their peers in times of crisis.”

What are the managerial principles behind your company’s choices?

You need to understand the human drivers behind a company’s actions, because developing something new requires dedicated focus on resources in a new area. Often this can mean difficult conversations, tough trade-offs and making difficult choices. What are the managerial behaviors behind these company choices?

When something appears to work, are you able to scale up quickly?

During the pandemic, what distinguished those that are winning was not just experimentation, but their ability to scale up. They were able to exploit opportunities to maximum potential in a short time frame. This is the biggest challenge facing executives. It’s not difficult to place small bets and experiment with new things, but many companies struggle with turning from exploration to exploitation, to scale things big with a committed focus.

These questions will help you identify if you are ready to LEAP, meaning jump from your core competency to another knowledge or capability base. Companies that LEAP early or are ready to LEAP when the landscape shifts are the ones that outperform their peers in times of crisis. 


Howard Yu - IMD Professor

Howard H. Yu

LEGO® Chair Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD

Howard Yu, hailing from Hong Kong, holds the title of LEGO® Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD. He leads the Center for Future Readiness, founded in 2020 with support from the LEGO Brand Group, to guide companies through strategic transformation. Recognized globally for his expertise, he was honored in 2023 with the Thinkers50 Strategy Award, recognizing his substantial contributions to management strategy and future readiness. At IMD, Howard directs IMD’s Strategy for Future Readiness and Business Growth Strategies programs.


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