CHA PTER 10: Wrapping Up142
If an organization has insufcient Red, it can experience catastrophic
failure. But too much Red can make it a stiing bureaucracy.
Although at the rst level, the Competing Values Framework (CVF)
points to the tensions that exist between diagonally opposite quad-
rants, an elemental truth is that the best-in-class are able to embrace
the paradox. Achieve an interpenetration of opposites. That means
developing a strong growth strategy in one quadrant but using the
tools of the diagonally opposite quadrant to enhance it.
The rst insight of the CVF is that this is difcult to do because the
diagonally opposite quadrants are competing forms of value creation
(see Figure 10.2). This is why it endows the organization with a core
competence and a competitive advantage when it can be done. It is a
core competence in part because it is difcult to imitate.
Take Ideo, for example. Located in Palo Alto, California, it is the most
inuential product design rm in the world. It designs over 100 new
Country Club
Irrelevance and
Bureaucracy Sweatshop
Slow Death Stagnation
Chaotic Research
Figure 10.1
Too much or too little of any color hurts.
143Interpenetration of Opposites
products a year, for customers as diverse as Nike, Apple, and the lm
industry. Ideo is a quintessential Green. However, it has a sophisticated
process of innovation that everybody in the organization embraces.
In fact, Ideo is proud of saying that it doesn’t care what product design
it is innovating. What matters is that it is able to apply its process to the
innovation. So here’s a company whose business and growth strategy
are Green, and yet it denes its core competence in terms of a process,
something we associate with Red.
General Dynamics, which we discussed in Chapter 8, is another exam-
ple. When faced with declining industry prospects in 1991, the com-
pany downsized dramatically, shrinking in sales from $9.5 billion to
$3.2 billion—a classic Blue initiative. But in the midst of dealing with a
Blue crisis with a Blue initiative, General Dynamics paid striking atten-
tion to Yellow. Its CEO, Bill Anders, asked his COO, James Mellon, to
spend most of his time for a period of six months simply teaching the
General Dynamics’ managers what it really meant to manage for cash.
Negative Zone
Current State
Desired State
Figure 10.2
Interpenetration of opposites: a tool to prevent drifting to the negative zone.

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