Credit Suisse, one of our major TomorrowToday clients, are currently welcoming new boss Tidjane Thiam into the chief executive hot seat. Thiam, formerly the head of Prudential, hails from the Ivory Coast and is a well-respected figure in the banking world. L&G Chief Executive, Nigel Wilson was quoted in City A.M. as saying that, “Tidjane cared about wider society issues as well as shareholder issues. He is a good person”.
Credit Suisse bldCredit Suisse can expect something of a shake-up as Thiam gets to grip with the reins. He has gone on record as saying that, “Credit Suisse has been successful but I don’t know of any organisation that doesn’t need change”.
It is what followed the ‘but’ in that quote that caught my immediate attention: …I don’t know of any organisation that doesn’t need to change.
Thiam is right.
Most organisations know he is right.
But, (there is that word again!) most organisations seem unable to make the changes that are needed.
Words like innovation, agility, adaptability and strategic flexibility have all become rather clichéd when talking about what is needed in response to the disruptive future that is unfolding all around us. It doesn’t make any of them less ‘true’ but it is just that we have become somewhat anesthetized to their undiluted impact through their perpetual use. And on this score, my hand is up along with the guilty many!
What we are seeing through our international TomorrowToday work is that companies understand the ‘change agenda’ but (!) they simply don’t know how to implement what we in TomorrowToday call the, ‘DNA change’ so desperately needed. Product and service change is periphery to the business model change uncompromisingly demanded by a ‘VUCA’ world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). When it comes to that change, organisations are floundering. We see it every day.
There are certainly no easy answers to DNA change but there are helpful considerations in ensuring that your organisation is able to embrace and engage in the constant change needed at this level. That is the work we do in TomorrowToday through our TIDES of Change and specifically our new, The Enemy Within frameworks. It is work done in partnership (with the client) that is invigorating, scary, edgy, energizing and life giving all at the same time. It is vital work; work that simply cannot be ignored, delayed or dismissed – as it often is by those who are enjoying success in the ‘here and now’.
I for one look forward to seeing what Thiam’s powerful reminder means for Credit Suisse and just how it plays itself out. I am sure it will be met in part by the usual responses of scepticism, doubtfulness and resistance but that after all, is the familiar terrain of true leadership. It seems terrain that will neither deter nor scare Mr. Thiam.
So, all the best Sir…  for you are absolutely right as I too can honestly say that I know of no organisation that doesn’t need to change!
Let’s get to it then shall we!

TomorrowToday Global