“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence — it is to act with yesterday’s logic” ~ Peter Drucker
First, The Bad News: You Cannot Manage Change…
Countless books have been written on the subject and an entire industry of management consultants have prospered under the prospect of advising businesses on how to manage change.
The story is always the same…
The only constant is change…
In a changing world, it comes down to the quick and the dead…
You either evolve, adapt and out-pace the competition at every step…
All true, especially today.
No question, we all understand the Diffusion of Innovation curve and the challenges that must be met to leap the chasm… effectively, timely, and productively.
Business is in business to continuously offer the “Hot-New”. The trendy new restaurant… iPhone… breakfast menu… talking robot… LCD screen… home automation gizmo… whatever.
It is not news that we are all afloat upon the sea of change. Change, for the most part, is VERY easy to see.
And it’s good to remember that, when you can see change, you have just 2 options: 1) React; or 2) Respond.
You are immediately thrust on the horns of an either/or dilemma… with few real options beyond knee-jerk reactions or refined responses.
Choices are slim, and while they may be well-informed, they will not result in the creative destruction necessary to move beyond the status quo, venturing into the rarified air of business greatness.
Yes, leaders of weight can easily see the changes happening in their respective industries. They can see the constant pull of their future against their existing business practices, products, and profits.
BUT, what the experts fail to recognize is that when you see it’s time to change, it’s already too late. If you can see it, you are about to be run over by it!
Managers in companies such as Sears, Blockbuster, Toys R Us, Kodak, Avaya, Rue 21 — pick an industry — could easily see the changes happening around them.
They probably even mistakenly believed they could manage those changes.
They could somehow escape the grim reaper by becoming more efficient… productive… inventive… or innovative.
But try as they might, it just isn’t enough — because the Old Croaker is simply faster than the hapless victims attempting to stop the inevitable.
Think about the little Danish boy attempting to hold back the floodwaters with his finger in the dike. He might be able to stop a leak here or there, but eventually, the wall will crumble into the sea.
The rapidly shifting tides — metaphorically and actually — guarantee that what exists today will crumble over time.
The only question is, how long will it take?
Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times – Niccolo Machiavelli
Solution? Create like your life depends on it because it does.
In a world swirling in change, the only rational strategy is to create the change… not try to extend what you are doing… or attempt to “innovate” your way into a bright new future.
Of course, seeing beyond the present with future-vision, that almost 6th sense, is very difficult.
It begins with a simple question, “Is there an opportunity here and am I strong enough to seize it not just see it?”
It begins with a hunch and evolves into a curiosity.
It begins when that inkling becomes a coherent thought.
Leaders will ACT… managers will REACT.
Because the first rule of bureautic survival is to AVOID CRITICISM!
You cannot be creative and play it safe at the same time.
The Good News: You CAN Create the Change You Need to Happen!
But you must LEAD the change, not try to manage it.
You need to be so far out front… the people around you think you are crazy (1st step)… have lost all sense of logic (2nd step)… and you are such a radical (3rd step)… you are totally unhinged.
Your job then is to convince your team to also think way outside the box and to live their lives on the bleeding-edge of technology!
I learned early on that there was a good paycheck in staying on the leading-edge. But, true wealth only comes from life on that bleeding-edge: think pioneers with arrows in their backs… THAT level of prescience and commitment to the future!
Personally, I believe that this issue goes well beyond the notion of Creative Destruction — the incessant product and process innovation mechanism by which new production units replace outdated ones. It was coined by Joseph Schumpeter (1942), who considered it ‘the essential fact about capitalism’. More from the MIT school of Advanced Macro-Economics…
It goes well beyond seeing what needs to be done to survive change.
It goes well beyond the normal business processes.
It needs to be developed into an INSTINCT.
Create a STRATEGY for leading change.
ADVICE: If you are in a constantly changing environment and need to
lead the change, the first priority is to create a real strategy. There are quite literally THOUSANDS
of things you can be doing… a strategy tells you what you need to be doing NOW.
You have heard me say this forever.
The key to business success is to think: WIN WIN.
What’s Important Now…
What’s Important Next?
Successfully answer these two questions, you succeed.
Don’t and you will spend your entire life scratching your head wondering what happened instead of making things happen.
Alan Kay said it best, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Create The Change…
Lead The Change…
E. R. Haas, CEO The TQ Smart Family of Companies
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