|“Adaptive Enterprise”: Creating and leading “sense and respond” organizations requires a nimble and flexible workforce. Because of the inherent unpredictability in what your customers will actually need, combined with the uncertainty in today’s marketplaces, it is often difficult to anticipate customer needs and requests in advance. Your organizational agility can be heightened with the adoption of a framework designed to better leverage your strengths and capabilities. A “Make and Sell” company can become more profitable and productive if it can transform itself into a “Sense and Respond” model. Sense and Respond firms operate from a “Customer Back”, not a “Firm Forward” model. This is in much the same way that a cab company is able to send extra cabs to a big evening event via special routes, but a bus company can only anticipate general traffic patterns and volumes when it plans its routes well in advance.
(Adaptive Enterprise: Creating and Leading Sense-And-Respond Organizations, Steve Haeckel, Harvard Business School Press, 1999).