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The most reliable contemporary change management research has consistently assumed that most organizational change can be controlled if leaders are mindful enough to predict and channel the forces driving that change. Like navigating a sailboat, implementing effective change was possible with a clear orientation, a dependable crew, and the ability to leverage the elements. But with the advent of speedboats, this is no longer true. If sailboats are traditional organizations, then speedboats are disruptive organizations. And speedboats don't follow the same rules. They may share the waters, but they vary radically in their assumptions about stability, focus and priorities, people, and what makes them vulnerable.


Sailboat organizations need stability. Their intentional change leadership thrives on an ability to control the nature, speed, intensity, and permanence of their changes. They depend on relative internal and environmental stability to control the change process. As for speedboats, In order to maintain their prominence as the quickest to adapt, they create rapid, constant disruption of the environment and rely on their own lightning reflexes to stay in the lead while their competitors attempt to regain orientation.

Focus and priorities

If this is any indicator of priorities within sailboat and speedboat communities, one population seems to focus more on navigation skill while the other seems to focus on navigation technology.


On a sailboat, the crew is interdependent for survival. Stationed all over the boat, members constantly communicate with each other, adapt to leverage the elements, and navigate the craft. The people directly affect the speed. On a speedboat, one daring driver sets the pace and everyone else hangs on The speedboat needs a strong engine and a confident driver who manages the speed and the water. Drivers may read the comfort level of the passengers to help gauge the speed, but the force/speed of the engine affects the people, not the other way around.


A sailboat cannot navigate as quickly as a speedboat, but it's less vulnerable to crashing and flipping. Its vulnerability is its inability to make sharp, quick turns if it encounters an unexpected threat. A speedboat, however, can manoeuvre quickly but its speed makes it more likely to crash. At top speeds, it can easily flip. In organizations, this can translate into outdated strategy with dire consequences. Similarly, the very speed that helps disruptive organizations quickly gain the market lead is also their greatest vulnerability to crashing. Visit for more informations

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