The Hard Part
For Elliott, sometimes seeing what’s coming is the easy bit - it’s getting the organisation to move in the right direction that is hard.
“Can you get there fast enough, before somebody else does, to be a beneficiary of that foresight?” he said.
“What we've been trying to do at ANZ… is unlock that agility in the organisation… to be able to get in the right place for the future. I imagine that's true for lots of organisations.”
Elliott agreed the world is rapidly changing but said that was an almost constant state.
“I always hesitate when people say ‘the rate of change is higher than before’,” he said. “I'm not so sure that's true. If you're a student of history and you stand back a little bit, [you begin to see] fast, rapid change - call it crisis - is the norm globally.”
“Really great organisations, ultimately, are ones that are flexible, agile [and] nimble.”
Elliott told me organisations capable of this adaptive behaviour possess two key elements.
One, they're curious about the future and have a growth mindset. Those two things need to be part of the “software of an organisation”.
Number two has to do with the way an organisation is structured; organisations that adapt swiftly are those built in a way that allows for change.
When businesses are as established at ANZ, they generally have been “built in a way that's very fixed,” he continued.
The question then, according to Elliott, is “how do you unlock the organisation to be able to change at pace? Those are the ways I think about successful organisations today.”