How vanguard is your change?

October 29, 2009
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The 5 Fs

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of the newly released book, SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good, summarizes five Fs that characterize vanguard companies—companies that are at the forefront of an action, examples of change to come. Kanter notes,

“Vanguard companies are able to manage change internally with fewer stumbles and less resistance because they empower people to make change themselves. Leaders of vanguard companies must be transformational leaders, turning their companies into forces for changing business and the world.”

She cites IBM, Procter & Gamble, Banco Real, and Publicis Groupe as examples of vanguard companies that “have achieved the seemingly impossible: high levels of business performance—innovation, growth, and profit—and social good. They have mastered a tough challenge: building a resilient culture to flourish in turbulent times while leaving a positive mark on the world.”

The five Fs:

  1. Focused—clear values and principles that guide everyday choices, show up in everyday conversations and appear in every message
  2. Flexible—committed to collaboration that cuts across structural and geographic


The 5 Fs

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of the newly released book, SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good, summarizes five Fs that characterize vanguard companies—companies that are at the forefront of an action, examples of change to come. Kanter notes,

“Vanguard companies are able to manage change internally with fewer stumbles and less resistance because they empower people to make change themselves. Leaders of vanguard companies must be transformational leaders, turning their companies into forces for changing business and the world.”

She cites IBM, Procter & Gamble, Banco Real, and Publicis Groupe as examples of vanguard companies that “have achieved the seemingly impossible: high levels of business performance—innovation, growth, and profit—and social good. They have mastered a tough challenge: building a resilient culture to flourish in turbulent times while leaving a positive mark on the world.”

The five Fs:

  1. Focused—clear values and principles that guide everyday choices, show up in everyday conversations and appear in every message
  2. Flexible—committed to collaboration that cuts across structural and geographic boundaries. Stress innovation and grab ideas from anywhere! (Design thinking anyone?)
  3. Fast—shorten the time from change needed to solutions, speed innovation through networks and partnerships. Create flexible processes that can be adopted quickly and easily to free up time for creative work.
  4. Friendly—open-minded, responsive, welcoming. Foster empathy and understand the emotional power (and neural connections too!) when people feel connected with others.
  5. Fun—enhance connection and collaboration by building relationships. Invest in human community. Have a beer (or whatever) together!

Let me ask you this. Do your change management initiatives consider the 5 Fs? They should.