In every business, change is one constant all executives should anticipate, and high performers have had to learn on their feet how to translate this reality into new strategies for doing business and leading their organizations. Change can be difficult in any scenario, but despite any amount of kicking and screaming, resistance is futile. Competing in today’s turbulent world demands new paradigms for guiding the people, process, and technology direction of your business. It’s the era of the Agile imperative, where best practices must yield to next practices as we strive to discover how to effectively adapt and thrive in this fast-paced and ever-changing world.
Recognizing the Forces of Change
How can leaders better prepare themselves and their workforce for innovative technologies and other changes that loom on the horizon? That’s the key question and exactly why anticipating change is so crucial for success. The fact is, businesses are forced to respond – whether they’re ready or not – as mobile workforces, social networking, cloud computing and other innovations redefine traditional business environments. Recognizing these forces that cause change and raising your team’s awareness of their importance and impact is the key to staying ahead of the curve and more importantly, staying in business. So how do we do this?
Keeping Your Eyes Wide Open and Develop Peripheral Vision
Each and every organization has a collection of critical forces of change. This includes your customers, consumers of your products or services, suppliers, government regulators, competition, even your employees. Learning to anticipate change comes from taking inventory of the trends occurring with each, and understanding how these trends affect you and your business. In other words, what systems can you put in place to get earlier visibility on actions that will affect your success model? At its most basic level, anticipating change is much like learning to drive: Don’t just watch the car in front of you – watch the car that’s in front of them.
Recognizing, Monitoring and Responding to Change
So maybe you’ve just recently started to blog when Twitter appears on your radar – now reaching an audience is faster, more accessible and even easier than before. Are you still working on your Facebook business page? With new developments every day, it’s nearly impossible to keep pace. Recognizing and monitoring change while contributing to it, can be tricky. New trends and solutions occur at the speed of light and businesses have been known to skyrocket or crash as a result of this rapid pace. The fact is, new technology begets new technology, and the speed of change increases.
Learning to Apply These Techniques to Help Anticipate Change Involves:
- Interpreting the potential impact of business turbulence and trends along with the implications to the enterprise
- Understanding the changing needs of customers and how that relates to goals
- Researching and leveraging competitive developments and trends in the market and/or industry
- Identifying and examining the forces of change that regularly affect the business
- Tracking key internal and external customer trends and patterns
- Establishing strategies for providing early warning signs of impending change
- Analyzing key competitor strategies and developing proactive plans to gain competitive advantage
- Engaging in external activities to learn best practices in the industry and marketplace
The challenge for organizations moving forward is to accept that change is inevitable. Get comfortable with this reality and learn to become a master of change, rather than a casualty.