As situations evolve and circumtances alter some changes may seem both desirable and inevitable. However certain changes are more welcome than others, and some people are much better at managing them than their peers. Regardless of the ability to bring it about, directors and boards should tread warily as change can be disruptive and costly. It can distract people who should be focused upon other priorities.

When mismanaged change can be stressful and destructive. Few changes affect everyone in the same way. There may be obvious ‘winners’ and clear ‘losers’. Those who are satisfied – and they may include key employees and important customers - may favour the status quo, while the frustrated such as ambitious people who feel blocked may be eager for radical action.

Changes occurring all around us represent challenges and opportunities.
Boards should identify significant trends and developments, consider who are likely to be ‘gainers’ and ‘losers’ and assess whether alternative offerings would mitigate undesirable impacts and enable people to take fuller advantage of new possibilities. The people affected might represent a potential market for products and services tailored to their particular interests.

Some companies succeed in managing change, competing and winning. People accomplish their aims. Other businesses stagnate. People work hard, adopt fashionable approaches, use big name consultants … but they still fail. Why is this? What do winners do differently?

Despite the rhetoric about nimble, flexible and responsive organizations, the economic downturn caught many companies flatfooted. Why the gap between aspiration and achievement? What are the strugglers overlooking or doing wrong?

The experience of over 2,000 companies reveals why there is a wide gulf between intentions and outcomes. Frustration is the inevitable consequence of how many people set about activities such as winning business, building customer relationships, creating and exploiting know-how, and the management of change.

The Centre for Competitiveness has identified what needs to be done. The results are summarized in a new book: ‘Transforming the Company, Manage Change, Compete and Win’*.

The differences between winners and losers are stark. Both categories attract clever and highly paid people who play their respective roles to perfection. Lets look at some dos and don’t for becoming a winner: