Adapt or die? The same principles that are applied in the cycle of life are transferable to the cycle of business. If approached with the question adapt or die, most people would certainly choose adaptation. So why then when faced with the same question in business life do so many people resist change, choosing to continue operating in their comfort zone?
Change and adaptation are just as natural instincts as keeping the status quo – it just makes us more uncomfortable. Like the belugas in the Blue Planet documentary, who deviated from their instincts to swim to open water and, upon realizing they were about to be trapped by the rapidly forming ice sheet, starting breaking the surface, repeatedly coming up for air in a consecutive circular pattern to survive.
Harry Beckwith points out in Selling the Invisible that not moving in business rarely causes any immediate pain to the business, but waiting begets more waiting – and the consequences occur when all the action-oriented people have left, competitors have surpassed the company and management have a reduced ability to now fix the problems. Adaptation, whether it is moving a company towards specialization, taking a radical step in how it manages its IP or creating a new tactical specialty in social media – embrace it.
Noted futurist David Houle said last week, in a speech to the Worldcom PR Group about the speed at which technology is changing how information is valued and consumed, that businesses must “adapt or die,” sans question mark. I couldn’t agree more.
Have you faced adaptation challenges in today’s business environment? What do you think is the biggest impetus for change in today’s economy and what is keeping companies from taking those steps? What do you think is the biggest change companies will have to make in 2010 in order to survive?
(video by Akhilind)
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