“It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run twice as fast as that.” – Lewis Carroll “Alice in Wonderland”
IN today’s fast-paced world some organizations are operating twice as fast as they did five years ago, and yet they are still losing ground. They are the losers. Other organizations are operating twice as fast, but are gaining ground. They are the winners.
In today’s world, there are only winners and losers. No one succeeds at staying the same. The key to the world of today (and tomorrow) is to thrive on change, not just survive on change. Thriving on change means having a competitive mindset, a positive position in your marketplace, and people who are action-oriented.
Let’s face it, yesterday’s world is gone, and it will never return. Today we live in a world where 98 percent of all significant changes in the history of mankind have taken place within the past 100 years. State simply: “what is, isn’t anymore. What is won’t be for long”.
In this lifetime we have gone from 250 mph WWII airplanes to 26,000 mph space shuttles. We have gone from people dying of appedicitis to people surviving heart and lung transplants. We have gone from radio technology to TV technology to satellite technology, which will provide us with more than 22,000 channels by the year 2000.
Change of this speed and magnitude requires us to develop action strategies to enable us to thrive on change. Let me share a few action strategies with you:
Strategy I: Create Change
The best way to cope with change is to create it.
This simple maxim helps you develop a mindset that is action-oriented. By creating changes in the way you do business, you position yourself as the leader in the industry. You reduce the stress involved for your organization and you increase the stress involved for your competition. You thrive by being ahead of the competition – by providing an added value to your customers that others do not. Create change, and you create a new marketplace for your goods and services.
Strategy II: Creative Innovation
The goal of this strategy is to fill an existing need in the market, and to remove customer frustrations. Here are some powerful examples:
Fredrick Smith of Federal Express was tired of getting slow mail. King Gillette was tired of sharpening his straight razor. Edward Land was tired of waiting to have his pictures developed. Each person filled a need in the market with a creative or innovative product that became a market leader.
In this strategy, we can define “innovation” as a new way to do an old thing, or an old way to do a new thing. We can define “creativity” as imagination combined with knowledge. Innovation and creativity are the keys to tomorrow.
Strategy III: Anticipation
This strategy is not a technique – it is a state of mind. It is not a tool – it is a frame of reference. It is not a re-action – it is an action.
Anticipation means knowing what your customers want and need, what your competitors are doing and what direction the market is moving in. It means being pro-active to thrive on change, not re-=active to survive change. It means revolutionizing your mindset and your actions to change the way you do business. It means being the first to provide what your customers need and way before they request it, or perhaps even know they need or want it.
Anticipation is your method to keep one step ahead of your competition in a world where being even with your competition is a prelude to falling behind your competition.
Japan is an excellent example. One of Japan’s greatest weaknesses is its inability to be creative. The Japanese can reverse engineer products. They can lower the cost of manufacturing products. They can distribute products. But they have not been able to develop the product concepts. To correct this, Japan is now holding “creative circles.” These are based on the same principles as their “quality circles.” It is from these, that they hope to gain the same success in their creative development as in their quality development.
Thriving on change is a process, not an event. It is a pro-active process of action steps designed to improve your market position. Surviving change s not enough in today’s world. Running twice as fast is not enough in today’s world. To thrive in today’s world, you must run twice as fast in the same direction, at the right time and in the right way. In today’s world thriving on change is the only way to succeed.