My husband and I just starting watching a British series on Sundance called Babylon. Created by the director of Slumdog Millionaire, the series focuses on the London police department, which has hired an American PR executive to combat the aggressive British media and improve the department’s image through strategic messaging and use of social media.

Sundance describes it as “the clash of cultures and age, the embrace of transparency and technology as well as the real underbelly of the relationship between media and government.” It is an interesting watch for anyone in the PR or government fields. But it also has some interesting lessons for people in any industry for all the reasons Sundance describes.

Soon after she took the job, the PR executive was told in one scene that the department had to change AND stay the same. She protested that it was an impossible task.

On its face, the statement seems contradictory. However, for any successful organization, the key is to maintain and leverage what is successful today while building new strategies for future success. Here are three strategies from business experts on how to do that:

  • Preserve the core and stimulate progress: That’s the advice management consultant and author Jim Collins related to Businessweek. “… Jim Collins loves to tell about the moment he realized that Peter Drucker was the living embodiment of this important principle: The things that an organization stands for should remain firm and fixed, but how it does things should be adjusted constantly. This dawned on Collins when he went to lunch with Drucker one day and watched his mentor order the usual: a nice glass of red wine—and, at the same time, a double espresso. Collins laughed to himself and thought, ‘There you go: Preserve the core and stimulate progress.’ ”


  • Break from the past without disavowing it: Harvard Business Review states that for “troubled organizations rich with tradition and success, history can be a curse — and a blessing. That’s why the second principle of change is to break from the past without disavowing it. Psychologist Jerome Bruner… has a pithy way to describe what happens when the best of the old informs the search for the new. The essence of creativity, he argues, is ‘figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you already think.’ The most effective leaders I’ve met don’t turn their back on the past. They reinterpret what’s come before to develop a line of sight into what comes next.”


  • Find the mystery, and the margin will follow. Forbes contributor Rebecca Bagley talked to Daryll Fogal, senior vice president of technology for the electrical sector at Eaton Corporation, about the financial opportunities that come with exploring new technologies “Where there is mystery, there is margin,” he said. The same could be true for any new service or application in your business.