Reinvention, clock speed, judo and Navy Seals

The ability to reinvent yourself and reinvent your organisation will be one of the most important competencies to master in the 21st century. Weathering the storms of creative disruption. Dealing with the shock waves coming your way.

Are you a melting iceberg?

A survey by The Global Centre for Digital Business Transformations says that nearly half of the top-ranked companies in their industries will be gone by 2020 (that is 4 years away). For example, the top twenty-five US food and beverage companies have lost more than $18 billion in value since 2009. And that trend is picking up steam. Think of these big food companies like melting icebergs. Every year they become a little less relevant

What is your melt-rate?

Is your professional or organisational iceberg melting? If so, at what rate? Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you and the organisation you lead increasing in relevance in the eyes of customers and shareholders or decreasing in relevance? Why, or why not? Will you be missed when you are going?
  • Do you continually push yourself and your organisation to add value?
  • What is your internal clock speed? Is your current and projected rate of internal change greater than the current and projected speed of external change? Why, or why not?

What is your clock speed?

Internal clock speed is essential. In the Age of Disruption, the ability to survive, thrive, and accelerate results is directly tied to your ability to outpace the change in your external environment. Suggest you pick up Peter Hinssen’s book “The network always wins”.

You need to be faster than your environment. It is simple. Adapt or perish. If your clock speed is too slow, extinction is inevitable.

Future proof you

In my new book “future proof you” (it is a working title and all suggestions welcome), I talk about “Rubbish in, rubbish out” and the need for an extensive  information dashboard that ensures ongoing scanning and best of class in mapping of technology, management theory (=read business books ;), economics, competition, politics but also scan the start-ups, the gurus and the best of breed in other industries and sectors.

Top risks to prepare for

Here are top risks according to the World Economic Forum (so you can prepare):

  1. Interstate Conflict
  2. Extreme Weather
  3. Failed Governments
  4. State Collapse
  5. Unemployment
  6. Natural Catastrophes
  7. Climate Change
  8. Water Crises
  9. Data Theft
  10. Cyber Attacks

Books to read

The books to read are

Reading only those three will increase your internal clock speed somewhat. If you want a longer list, feel free to e-mail ( and I will be happy to oblige. Here comes the plug. You reading those books is great, but it would be so much better if your organisation would collectively read and internalise those books and act accordingly. You have my e-mail ;).

The six deadly sins

Why are the warning signs not picked up? The answer is simple. Leadership and culture. Here are the 6 deadly sins.

  1. Arrogance
  2. Negative Feedback Not Acknowledged Here
  3. Dismissing Competitors’ Successes
  4. We Know What’s Best for the Customer
  5. Believing Problems Don’t Exist
  6. Avoiding the Unavoidable

The brutal facts

A key finding was that successful companies have a bias toward confronting the brutal facts, It is vital to retain absolute faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

How good are you at judo?

The key is organisational agility (or how good is your company at judo). Which is the willingness and capability of individuals and organisations to seek out, humbly accept, diligently explore, and quickly adapt to incoming shockwaves within their industry and the marketplace.

The algorithm (D × F × A × E)L > C

Dissatisfaction (D): Ensuring there is a strong and powerful internal felt need for change.

Focus (F): Ensuring there is a compelling and articulated desired future state that generates forward movement and staying power.

Alignment (A): Ensuring appropriate infrastructure is installed. I think companies underestimate the importance of organisational design. You should read this.

Execution (E): Ensuring a comprehensive game plan with clear milestones is in place; installing a high-performance culture that executes well and fast.

Leadership (L): Ensuring exceptional leadership (self-leadership for individuals; organisational leadership for organisations) is exhibited; ensuring the change quotient is in place and high accountability to the game plan.

Cost of Change (C): The true and perceived costs of change relative to the reinvention effort (physical, social, financial, emotional, and mental). Disrupting the status quo can be painful.

Reinvention is even more so because the changes are bold in nature. Unless the combined forces of the Change Quotient (D × F × A × E) and Leadership (L) exceed the Cost of Change (C), then a reinvention effort is likely to fail. Costs can be physical, social, financial, and mental.

You can score yourself

Score each factor between one and ten:

  1. Revenue growth: My organisation is experiencing strong revenue growth.
  2. Profitability: My organisation is making a healthy profit.
  3. Competitive position: My organisation is always one step ahead of the competition.
  4. Customer satisfaction: My organisation’s customers are very satisfied.
  5. Cultural vibrancy: My organisation’s culture encourages employees’ high performance.
  6. Technology agility: My organisation applies technology to create a competitive advantage.
  7. Employee engagement: My organisation’s employees are highly engaged.
  8. Innovation: My organisation creates innovation in our products, services, and processes.
  9. Learning agility: My organisation is constantly learning and improving performance.
  10. Leadership: My organisation exhibits world-class leadership.

Below 70 is not good

If your total of points is below 70, you need to ring me. Kidding! If it is below 70, you need to start taking action. Your organisation is in danger. A great start to start with the “D”. You can’t be satisfied with a score lower than 70. It could be the beginning of your storyline (it is all about storytelling).

Dissatisfaction (D)

All research shows that the “D” is essential. The level of dissatisfaction amongst leaders and employees with the status quo needs to be high enough. Only then will they fully commit their time, emotions, and effort to the reinvention effort.

What can you learn from Navy Seals

The book makes a strange jump to Navy Seals. Navy SEALs are among the toughest fighters on the planet. The book to read is “The Navy SEAL Art of War” . It is about mindset, goals, visioning, control, training and tools. You can see the overlap with your business.


A Navy SEAL’s mental toughness might even be more important than his physical strength.

Goal setting

SEALs need to constantly have short-term goals (“I can make it through one more minute”); midterm goals (“I can make it to the end of the week”); and long-term goals (“I want to be a Navy SEAL”).


The average person says between three hundred and seven thousand words to themselves per minute. If the majority of this self-talk is negative, a SEAL will definitely fail. They are trained to engage in realistic self-talk

Arousal control

The ability to think clearly during a stressful situation is lessened when a SEAL becomes scared, anxious, or worried. The brain is flooded with chemicals that make it almost impossible to make fast and accurate decisions. SEALs are taught breathing techniques to control blood flow to the head. Read “Coherence”  if this is of interest.

Training and conditioning

Recruits are required to go through eighteen months of full-time training before they can be recognised as Navy SEALs.

Equipment and gear

A SEAL always has on his equipment and gear that will allow him to operate in any situation.

The conclusion

The overall conclusion is simple. Your organisation needs to become a Navy SEAL with a black belt in judo with a high internal clock speed with a score of over 70.

sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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