The best was to predict the future is to create it. Creating the future will require change. Change really is so difficult. You must change or you will not survive. Let me illustrate the importance of change with story of a once great US company.
Anyone who has done photography for years knows that Kodak was the gold standard of film. And if your film was processed by Kodak, you had the best quality picture. You really could tell the difference. Yes, Kodak was branded as a superior image because of high quality film, chemicals, and processing quality control.
In the 1980’s someone at Kodak invented a prototype of a digital camera but Kodak did not want to develop it because they had a good thing going. Today, almost every camera (professional to low end) is digital. Those cameras are made by Nikon and Canon, not Kodak. Kodak’s real business was images and not chemicals and processing. But they failed to act on trends and change ran over Kodak. What can we learn about change and the Kodak story?
All of us, individuals and companies alike, find change to be very hard. Let’s start by mentioning one reason why we resist change. First and foremost, we are genetically pre-disposed to shy away from it. Our brains have developed to the point where we create habits when we perform repetitive behaviors, and we do that all the time. So often, in fact, most times those behaviors become totally unconscious. For example, how many times have you caught yourself saying, “We’ve always done it that way.”
Let’s change that comment around by asking, “Is this still the best way to do it?” Two things need to be considered when asking if this is still the best way.
First, consider the role of changing technology. When communicating, for example, you might begin by asking how people like to receive their communication. Electronic communication is becoming dominant but some people also like hard copy. Also, you must be able to send and receive texts. Texting has become dominant in the business mainstream. Can you and your staff conduct your business from mobile devices? Is you website mobile friendly?
Second, take into consideration the changing customer and the changing workforce. Are you adapting your practices and policies to accommodate the younger generations? For example, the younger generation has shown a desire to establish an emotional bond to your company. Make sure that you are being socially responsible as an organization. Have lots of opportunities for your employees to make a difference in their work.
These are just a few examples. The most important point to remember is to plan and create the future you want. Anticipate upcoming changes and have a strategic plan to embrace those changes. If you don’t get in front of change and create it a change might come that will overwhelm you.
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