The World Has Changed
In January of 1994, during an episode of The Today Show, Katie Couric asked Bryant Gumbel the infamous question, “What is internet?” The hosts, adept at discussing topics ranging from current events and new movie releases to politics and environmental issues, were much like everyone else in the world who lacked common knowledge about this new technology and what it could do.
Today, the internet is a foundational component of every part of our lives and serves as a vital resource in our ever-changing world. However, while the internet, and technology in general, has enabled companies to adapt and evolve, it has caused considerable challenges throughout the years as well. Change is difficult. It is much easier to travel down the same path you always have, remain comfortable in your current environment, and coast along a smooth trajectory than it is to change. This causes many companies (and people) to resist the need to transform their operation and improve their business. This inevitably leads to failure.
The world will always change, so the idea that you can hold onto past ways of doing business and approaches toward success is false. If you want to succeed, you must change.
If You Do Not Change, You Will Die
Change has always been and will always be a part of the business world. The need to continually adapt, evolve, and improve has always been important. No company or person has ever been able to rest on the laurels of their past to deliver success in the future without making changes.
However, in this day and age, it is different. In the past, change was slow and occurred over time. This provided companies the opportunity to analyze change, make deliberate plans, and then methodically implement meticulous processes that carefully orchestrated a new way of doing business. Companies were able to make incremental changes over time, allowing everyone in the organization to be prepared for what was to come.
This is no longer the case. Change now happens at a torrid pace, with every company in every industry always looking for new ways to cut corners, reduce their financial burden, and get a leg up on the competition. And rather than experiencing small changes that were rolled out over a period of time, in today’s environment, seismic shifts happen at a moment’s notice. New products and services with transformative functionality cause disruptive change that can wipe out businesses and flip industries upside down. This eliminates the opportunity to be passive and wait for the perfect time to pull the trigger. Instead, companies must execute their plan of attack quickly and efficiently.
Not surprisingly, many businesses (and people) do not appreciate this harsh reality. They favor a slow, disciplined approach toward change, prefer to maintain consistency with their operation, and want tradition over transformation. For this group, the end is no surprise. Their business invariably struggles to compete as they miss out on the tangible benefits that come from improving their operation.
This is evident from the long-suffering pain companies like Radio Shack, Sears, and Xerox have experienced and is analogous to what countless independent bookstores, small hardware businesses, and vintage furniture shops have gone through. Though the reason for each company’s downfall could be endlessly debated, the overarching theme can be summed up in a single sentence. The failure to change destroyed the opportunity to remain competitive.
This makes it simple. If you want to win, you must change and execute.