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Rather than relying on a quick-win approach, organizations navigating times of acceleration need to adopt a more balanced, sustainable mindset such us the Sustainable Player (part of the Enterprise Agility Way of Thinking—EAWT). While short-term gains may seem appealing in the moment, experience shows this reactive stance often backfires by compromising the capabilities needed to weather ongoing change.

When disruption hits, the instinct of many leaders is to make rapid cuts or changes aimed at immediate results, without fully considering potential ripple effects. They may lay off large numbers of staff to reduce costs overnight. Or they may hastily adopt AI and automation before carefully evaluating impact on roles and culture. The thinking is these aggressive moves will increase efficiency and flexibility to better cope with uncertainty.

However, organizations are complex adaptive systems, and rushed changes made under stress frequently fail to achieve their intended aims. Mass layoffs gut collective capabilities and institutional knowledge essential for implementation and innovation. Careless AI integration demotivates staff and damages trust. The hoped for agility gains prove elusive.

Meanwhile, the unanticipated downstream costs accumulate—declining morale affecting retention and productivity, customer issues from loss of expertise, technology investments not optimized to needs. The total price is higher than if a more balanced approach had been taken.

The sustainable player understands long-term resilience requires foresight, discipline and care. They invest in workforce upskilling and focus on incremental integration of new technologies to avoid disruption. They maintain close engagement with customers and staff to sense shifting needs. Rather than reacting impulsively, they anticipate and get ahead of change through a combination of short and long term plays.

While quick wins provide temporary relief, a fixation on speed breeds haste and tunnel vision which ultimately comprombs organizational health. The Sustainable player balances the urgency of now with a steady vision beyond the horizon. Their measured approach sustains capabilities over time, enabling greater agility when facing ongoing exponential change.

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