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#27—Michael Tushman: Why Ambidextrous Organizations Outperform Others

#27—Michael Tushman: Why Ambidextrous Organizations Outperform Others

Michael Tushman is a Baker Foundation Professor, Paul R Lawrence Professor Emeritus, and faculty chair of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Harvard Business School. He is also a founding director of Change Logic, a Boston-based strategic advisory firm.

Michael is internationally recognized for his work on the relations between technological change, executive leadership and organization adaptation, and for his work on innovation streams and organization design. Mike is an active business consultant and educator, working with CEOs and senior teams around the world.

Mike leads several Harvard Business School's premier learning opportunities for executives. In addition to AMP, he is faculty co-chair of Leading Change and Organizational Renewal and is a former Faculty Chair for the Professional Leadership Development Program. He also teaches on the Business Analytics Program, HBS’s first online only program.

Mike’s publications include Lead and Disrupt, Winning Through Innovation: A Practical Guide to Leading Organizational Renewal and Change, both with Charles O’Reilly; and Corporate Explorer: how corporates beat startups at the innovation game with Andy Binns.

In this podcast he shares:

  • How to structure a company so it can simultaneously exploit your current business and explore new businesses

  • The definition of an ambidextrous organization

  • Why it's so critical that you think about your firm's “identity” and purpose

  • And why the greatest barrier to your ability to innovate may be dealing with “identity threats”

  • __________________________________________________________________________________________

  • "My experience with ambidexterity is the structure is pretty trivial. You just put the past in the future. Oftentimes the reason that ambidextrous structures fail is that the senior team cannot deal with the paradox and tensions and contradictions associated with both exploiting and exploring simultaneously. So I would beg the strategy types in the room to help your colleagues attend to inconsistent strategies simultaneously in service of the overarching identity and help their colleagues deal with tension in the room is that is not there exploit always kills, explore."

    -Michael Tushman


    Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Michael Tushman + The topic of today’s episode

    2:38—If you really know me, you know that...

    2:01—What is your definition of strategy?

    4:50—What are you most well-known for?

    7:25—Could you explain to us the concept of an ambidextrous organization?

    10:15—How do you find leaders that can manage the tension between exploit and explore?

    15:40—Could you explain how explore companies differ in how they shape the context and rules?

    16:50—Could you explain a little more about this identity conflict that companies experience?

    19:18—What are you working on now and how should people connect with you?


    Additional Resources:

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The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.