• How did Blackberry go from owning the market to chasing the market?
  • What sixth sense does Lorne Michaels possess that enables him to keep his franchises on top?
  • Was bringing in Oprah to rescue Weight Watchers too little too late?
  • How did Roger Federer regain his winning swing while Tiger Woods keeps missing his shot at a comeback?
  • Why did it take an external investigation to get the NFL to move on the concussion controversy?
  • What was it about David Bowie that kept his fans loyal no matter what his iteration?
  • What steps did J.J. Abrams take to ensure the newest Star Wars movie was just the right degree of new-and-improved?
  • How did a behemoth company like Campbell’s make simple, strategic adjustments to regain its supremacy?
  • Why is Lego able to keep building its enterprise, while age-old Mattel keeps playing around the fringes?

Why is it that some businesses, organizations, and people can successfully keep up with the continual need to change and evolve to meet the times and the marketplace, and others can’t?

How do some know exactly when it’s time to shift, and others, ruefully, only after it’s too late? How do those who are successful in their transformations identify exactly what things require modification and, equally important, what things should stay constant so as not to risk losing both their credibility and their authenticity? What are the implications for those businesses, organizations and people who jump too far in their quest to reinvent or, on the other hand, for those whose attempts at reinvention are too timid? Is there a practical model – are there pragmatic methodologies – for assessing and implementing all of the above?

Some see it as exciting. Others as scary. Whatever the response, it’s not just you, it’s everyone. We are all feeling the effects of a world that is rapidly changing, the pace of change only getting faster. The realities continue to work their way into every aspect of our lives, from economic and technological, to social and cultural, creating profound implications. Among the most challenging of these implications is keeping up with, if not ahead of, these changes. It is a challenge faced not only by businesses and business leaders, but also by governmental agencies and non-profit organizations, politicians and celebrities, academic institutions and job seekers, producers of goods and services, and every imaginable brand, including the brands we call ourselves. The challenge is driven by something which is, essentially, Darwinian. It’s the need to remain both relevant and competitive.

How does one meet this challenge? How is it possible to change in the requisite manner without losing the core attributes that define you? The qualities with which you’ve become associated and are proprietarily yours? That is, to anticipate, grasp, and then react to the conditions at play without losing sight of what you stand for in peoples’ minds. The tangible and, often more important, intangible things that make you who you are and set you apart from all others in your competitive set.

Shift/Focus provides both the framework and the practical steps required to manage the tension between changing to stay ahead of the market in order to stay relevantly differentiated, while maintaining focus on inherent strengths and core attributes, the things that define you and made you successful to begin with.