With the ever-changing environment, the adaptability of a business determines its height of success. A leader’s ability to percept the changing environment and act in accordance with it marks the sign of true leader. We have umpteen numbers of cases for both, the success and the failure in leading the organization towards change. Often, the path to change is seen as a one-dimensional one. However, the authors of Dual Transformation beg to differ. They firmly believe in the dual course of action required to take the company out of turbulent waters. The following excerpt clarifies the fundamentals of Dual Transformation by keeping Deseret News at the pivot:
‘Our bedrock case study comes from coauthor Clark Gilbert’s firsthand experience leading a transformation at Deseret Media. The Deseret News is one of America’s oldest continually published newspapers, tracing back to 1850. Ultimately owned by the Mormon Church (which also owns the local KSL television station), the paper historically competed in Utah with The Salt Lake Tribune under what is known in the industry as a joint operating agreement, wherein the two companies share facilities and printing presses but have independent journalists, brand positions, and so forth. As the number 2 provider in its market, Deseret Media was hit particularly hard by the disruptive punch of the internet; between 2008 and 2010 the Deseret News lost nearly 30 percent of its print display advertising revenue and 70 percent of its print classified revenue.
In 2009, Gilbert—who had done his doctoral research at Harvard on the newspaper industry and had consulted to the industry before he became head of online learning at Brigham Young University-Idaho—was asked to launch Deseret Digital Media, a newly formed organization that contained Deseret Media’s collection of websites.
Five years later, however, Deseret Media had a vibrant print publication, including a national weekly that was one of the fastest growing publications in the United States. It also had built an impressive array of quickly growing digital marketplace businesses tied to its KSL classifieds products that collectively produced more than 50 percent of the organization’s combined net income. These digital businesses shared brands, content, and a few other resources with the core business but largely functioned autonomously. Deseret Media had revitalized its historical core business while simultaneously pioneering the creation of a new hill on the media landscape. By the time Gilbert left in 2015 to become president of BYU-Idaho, net income at Deseret, in the midst of an industry in free fall, was up by almost 25 percent from 2010.
Deseret’s success, according to Gilbert, is attributed to organizing the company to adapt to two very different types of change. Rather than view change as one monolithic transformation process, Gilbert organized the company into two parallel change efforts: one to reposition the core newspaper business, and another to unlock new growth in digital markets.
We call this change effort dual transformation.
When you take your first algebra class, you’re introduced to the Greek letter delta. The capital form of the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet, Δ, also serves as shorthand in math equations for change. The kind of change we’re talking about here is indeed a very large delta. Achieving that change requires following this formula:
A + B + C = Δ
Here’s how it breaks down.
A = transformation A. Reposition today’s business to maximize its resilience.
B = transformation B. Create a separate new growth engine.
C = the capabilities link. Fight unfairly by taking advantage of difficult-to-replicate assets without succumbing to the sucking sound of the core.’
For in-depth knowledge about the theory of Dual Transformation, click here .
This is an excerpt from Scott D. Anthony, Clark Gilbert and Mark Johnson’s Dual Transformation.
Credit: Abhishek Singh