This is a part of the primer on the disruptive leap model introducing the concept and model. The full text can be found here.
From a societal view, an opportunistic society is a society before a cohesive and enforced legal system is in place. It’s a society much like the Wild West, where the strong rule by the power of force. During a war, even a modern society can temporarily fall back into the opportunistic stage as we have seen both in the Balkans and in Iraq. Currently countries like Afghanistan and Cambodia are at the opportunistic stage since even though a legal system do exist, it is not enforced and often put out of action by corruption or by the whims of a dictator or other strong leader.
Opportunistic companies are typically most new companies and startups. They have no set processes, policies or guidelines. Things evolve ad hoc as they are needed. At this stage we also find a lot of small businesses, craftsmen and consultants. In some older companies ad hoc is the main leadership philosophy that sometimes spiral into an unorganized chaos.
What all companies at the opportunistic stage have in common is that they grab opportunities as they arise. They are very flexible with short lead times and small, flat organizations, more due to that the individual initiative circumvents structure and rules. They can quickly evolve into and past the following stages, due to the lack of set processes and procedures. They live to please their customers and usually work on the customer’s terms.
The Opportunistic stage shares some characteristics with the most developed stages, since it is characterized by the speed and flexibilty of the SocioSourcing stage and involves a strong focus on the customer like the Augmented Immersion stage. Of course the big difference lies in the human effort needed to be predicting the customers next move.
This might especially be the case for self-employed consultants whom may well be at the SocioSourcing stage when it comes to areas like branding, relationship building, sales, communication and tech tools. They also often have a direct relationship with their customers to the level of being able to almost predict their needs and thus operate at the beginning of the Augmented Immersion stage.
When it comes to plans, procedures and policies, however, it is highly unlikely that they are able to operate at a higher level than the Opportunistic stage which a the most fundamental level set the limits to their ability to grow their business.