>Nimbleness, Ingenuity and The Total CIO

>We all know the story of David and Goliath, where little David slays the monstrous adversary from the Philistines, Goliath.

From a religious perspective, of course, David is victorious over this incredible enemy, by the hand of G-d; it is a miracle!

Metaphorically, David slays the Giant with a rock and sling shot overcoming the daunting Goliath and his foreboding weapons (sword, spear, shield, and armor); it is David’s nimbleness and ingenuity that overcome the hulking and conventional giant, Goliath.

You have to love this story.

Good wins over evil. The smaller defeat the larger. The underdog overcomes the “sure thing.”

The modern day, Hollywood version of this is Rocky whose sheer determination and laser focus prevails against superior adversaries. How many times does the smaller Rocky defeat the larger, better trained, more muscular opponents? Remember—Apollo Creed (taller, trimmer, faster), Hulk Hogan (the giant who literally picks Rocky up over his head), Clubber Lang (the awesome Mr. T), Ivan Drago (the steroidal, methodically-trained Soviet), and so on.

David versus Goliath, Rocky versus Ivan Drago…

While these are amazing and inspiring stories of success, these aren’t unique stories or themes in history. Why?

As the old saying goes, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Small, nimble, and innovative can and will overcome large, lumbering giants. This can be in the ring (like Rocky), on the battlefield (like David and Goliath), and in marketplace competition (like challenger brands such as Apple, Google, Honda…).

Recently, the Wall Street Journal has an article entitled “Honda’s Flexible Plants Provide Edge.” (23 September 2008)

“One recent morning, the Hondo Motor Co. plant here churned out 120 Civic compacts. Then the production line came to a halt and workers in white uniforms swept in to install new hand-like parts on the giant gray robots that weld steel into the car’s frames. About five minutes later, the line roared back to life, and the robots began zapping together a longer, taller vehicle, the CR-V cross-over. In the automotive world, this is considered quite a feat.”

Honda’s plants are the most nimble in the industry.

In the first 2/3 of the year, while sales are down 24% at Chrysler, 18% at CM, 15% at Ford, and even 7.8% at Toyota, Honda is up 1.7%!

Like with Honda’s more efficient production process—“to shuffle production among different plants as well as make different models in one plant–flexibility and innovation are the rocks and slingshot of the modern day David. Watch out Goliaths!

The great lesson here for large, successful organizations is that no matter how much bigger and better you are than the competition, you can never rest on your laurels.

Time can change everything.

The smaller, seemingly disadvantaged enterprise is eyeing those in the #1 spot and taking it as their personal challenge to unseat them. They are clawing their way up and will use their smaller size to outmaneuver, and their ability to innovate to leap ahead of the competition.

The Total CIO (like King David and Rocky) find a strategic advantage to enable them to overcome stronger and/or larger competitors. The Total CIO leverages technology/business process improvement as tools of innovation to change the game completely.

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