The ability to drive change may be the greatest competitive strength a company or individual can possess. The pace of change in business, markets and technologies is faster than ever.
Customers are more demanding with higher expectations. We have more shopping choices. Social media and services like Amazon and Yelp, give customers a way to leave reviews, sharing their experience. Reviewing customer satisfaction has never been easier. Business owners need to be ready to respond to market changes and customer demand.
The Sony Walkman
After the first compact cassette, Walkman went on sale for $150 in 1979 they continued to transition from cassette to CD players to digital music. For thirty-five years, this product has morphed and adapted to change.
You can still order a Sony Walkman digital player off Amazon today, choosing from many different models.
We see this same evolution take place with Philips Lighting as they transition with lighting technologies: Incandescent to florescent to LED.
What change is your company facing? Is there hidden opportunity there as well?
Everything is temporary, stay proactive and never assume you can rest on yesterday’s successes.
Eastman Kodak built one of the first digital cameras back in 1975. They are sighted as an example of what happens when you don’t embrace change fast enough.
Founded in 1880, Kodak was a pioneer of technology. As of 1976 Kodak had 90% of the film market and 85% of the camera market. Their revenue peaked at nearly $16 billion in 1996 and its profits at $2.5 billion in 1999 per the Economist magazine. Kodak was a Titan of business.
As we evolved from film to digital and from cameras to smartphones, Kodak did not keep up. Some experts site complacency as management’s central issue. No matter the reason, change did not happen fast enough, and Kodak suffered for it.
The key takeaway for us to remember is; Everything we do is temporary. We must view our ability to learn, adapt and change as a competitive advantage we must cultivate.
We need confidence in our products and services; we need trust in our employees and our business model. We need confidence in our ability to change!
The Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker cycle is when a problem builds up enough pressure to cause us to act and change. But the solution is short-lived. After the pressure is released, we fall back into old habits.
Oprah Winfrey told the story of watching a heavyweight title boxing match, and when the announcer called out the weight of then-champion Mike Tyson, Oprah realized she was the same weight! It motivated her to make needed changes and lose weight.
In pressure cooker fashion, wants the pressure is released we can fall back to our original state. We don’t want that in our personal lives or our business. We need to understand the dynamics of change. We need the change to last.
In the book “Hitchhikers Guide to Lean: Lessons from the Road,” the authors Jamie Flinchbaugh and Andy Carlino give this equation for driving change:
H x V x F > R
H = A hatred of the current condition
V = A vision of the ideal state
F = The courage to take the first step to close the gap
R = The resistance to change that exists within an organization
We need a clear understanding of the current condition and why it is no longer acceptable.
Since we know change is inevitable, we need to design change into our business model. We want to see change coming on the horizon and adapt to it quickly. Instead of causing stress we want it to be viewed in the most positive manner possible. We need to recognize the opportunity it presents and how much better things will be after the change.
The best way to drive change is to focus on the benefits provided by the desired change. We gain momentum as we avoid trouble and move toward benefits the future condition will provide.
The ability of a business to adapt and change must be created. Any company in operation that plans on being relevant tomorrow must view the ability to change as a necessary attribute.
A business that is bogged down with bureaucracy, redundant reporting and laborious decision making is outdated for today’s ever dynamic marketplace.
Hope that your competition is working that way. (There is an excellent chance they are.)
We want all employees to embrace “change management” as the competitive advantage that it is. We must view everything as temporary. What’s our next hurdle or opportunity and how can we best respond to it?
Change is always on the horizon, what do you see? Are you a victim of change or the master of it? We can ride the wave of change or let it drowned us. Change is coming, we might as well be proactive and make the most of it.
We have all heard that people resist change. Rather or not that’s true depends on the proposed change. We need to see a benefit in the change. Management needs to invest time establishing benefits the desired change will provide.
Everything is in a constant state of change. Stability does not exist.
If we can’t detect the change, it just means we can’t see it, it’s still happening. The desk my laptop is sitting on as I write this is slowly rotting. Lucky for me, it is too slow to detect and will take a long time…but it’s still happening.
In the absence of continuous improvement activities, the default setting is towards decay. Good things happen by purpose and most bad happen by neglect. It’s the law of entropy. We must continuously work to improve what we care about:
If you’re the type of person that thrives on change, IT’S YOUR TIME!
Never have changes been so constant and such a dynamic factor. Embrace it and let’s create robust businesses designed for change. “Change Management,” is a term you want your employees to understand and see as a strength to possess.
If we have the foresight to respond to change within our control, we will be in the best possible position for responding to change outside of our control.