The Different Concepts of Time in Competition and Organization

One of the key differences between adaptive force of competitive strategy and organizing force of management planning is their totally different conceptions of timing. In organization, timing is about the clock and the calendar: the planning and keeping of schedules. However, in competition, timing is about the moments that arise as a confluence of events: the dynamics of enviromental change. Ancient Greek has two different words for these two concepts of time. Kronos is the time of scheduling. Kairos is the time of moments. While the trends and cycles of climate take place within the realm of the kronos clock, the decisions of traditional strategy are all made in the arena of the kairos moment, maneuvering within the dynamics of the situation that arises from now. A machine can follow the time of the kronos clock much better than a human can, but only the conscious mind can understand the nature of time as the kairos moment: the moment of opportunity and the right time to move.