Everyone living in today’s world is faced with change on a daily basis. Certainly change is nothing new – I can look back on my grandparents’ childhood (no indoor plumbing, farming with horses & not tractors, etc.) and compare it to that of my children (iPads, Skype, etc.) and see innumerable changes in the past 80 years. However, today’s change seems to be happening at an almost overwhelming pace. Can you look at your business four or five years ago and say that it’s still the same today? For that matter, is it even the same as last year?
I’d like to take the next few weeks and brainstorm about change. We’ve written about this before (Why is Change so Hard? and Change Your Old Habits). Hundreds (thousands?) of others have too. And yet it continues to be a struggle for so many people. We’ll try and cover why we need to change, why it’s so hard, and what could we do to handle it better. Hopefully we can come up with something that makes an impact.
First, what to me seems like the easy part – why do we need to change? Let’s start with what’s going on around us. Not only is change happening faster and faster, it’s happening in so many different areas. It isn’t just one part of the business world that is changing – it’s all the parts! Think about your people, your products & services, your customers, your competitors, your prices, your vendors, etc. Have any of those things stayed the same over the past few years? Do your people have the same needs & wants they’ve always had? Do you offer the same products & services at the same prices? What do your customers value? Who are your competitors? I could fill the whole blog with questions like that, but I think you get the point. There are very few constants in today’s business world.
But so what? Does the changing world around us demand a response? I could try and come up with something brilliant, but an associate of mine, Dr. King Hickman, posted something on this blog a year ago that I think sums it up almost perfectly (thanks King!):
“From the book “Jumping the Curve” by Imparato and Harari, consider two questions: Given the quantum changes in market conditions and societal structures, is it reasonable for us to conclude that we can remain in our familiar, traditional roles as we manage our enterprises? Is it reasonable for us to decide that while our societies and businesses are being completely reshaped, we have the luxury of maintaining traditional habits, behaviors, strategies and priorities as we attempt to guide our organizations through the unfamiliar turbulence going on around us?”
While that was written in the 1990’s, it could just as well have been written last week. Face the brutal facts: The world is changing rapidly. And we all have to do the same.
What changes have you seen in your business over the past 3 years? What have been the most difficult changes to deal with? What do you foresee as the most important changes you will be dealing with in the next 12-24 months?