I have been saying this for years. Change is upon us and as a business executive or leader making important decisions you only have 2 choices: either embrace change or become a casualty. It really is as simple as that.
Just ask Target, Sony, Mexx, Smart Set, Jacob, Holt Renfrew (some stores), Sears Canada, Future Shop who are just some of the high profile casualties. Ask some of the Wal Mart staff that were cut in the last few months. Or ask some of the local Heinz and Kraft employees in Canada who are waiting to hear about their fate as a consequence of the merger.
Oh yes, and if you thought that it can’t happen to you, think again. The change in our environment is being brought about by rapidly moving forces, driven by the digital world, that are not slowing down – they are in fact speeding up like a runaway train, and unless you take action, and I mean PROACTIVE ACTION – beware, you are definitely in the train’s cross hairs.
Sadly, we only hear about retail and more public entities, however just look around your own neighbourhood and take note of the empty real estate and the number of For Lease signs. I bet you will be shocked!
Embrace change by making proactive decisions
So, what can you do proactively to ensure that you don’t become a casualty of this evolving reality? Here are 5 suggestions:
1. Embrace the fact that change will affect you, your business, your customer base and your offering to them. Accept that you need to address this fact proactively and plan forward with the changes in mind. Get ahead of the wave and stay ahead. Ride the wave by strategizing what is required for your unique situation.
2. Don’t delay. Many people feel that “I haven’t been affected so let’s not rock the boat”. Realize that by the time you feel the boat rocking it will be too late. The pace of change is so dramatic that by the time you notice it you will be too far behind to catch up. You really don’t need to have absolutely everything lined up before you make some changes – just ensure that you have a clear vision of what needs to be done and start the movement. As momentum builds you can pick up the pace. However, don’t get caught standing still. You will be an easy target if that happens.
3. Don’t feel you need to do it alone. If you feel overwhelmed, it may be time to ask for help. There are resources out there that can help you. To understand your current circumstances. To help you create a new and clear vision of the future. To help you get things started in the new direction.
4. Lead the change wherever possible, or attach yourself quickly to a new found innovation. As long as you are close to the leading edge you will be OK. Being a follower had its advantages in the past. With the rapid pace of change, a follower strategy may not be advisable in today’s world.
5. Clarity of Vision and a Roadmap to your destination is critical. No longer can you feel safe by making decisions on the fly without proper consideration. This manner of decision-making and management is becoming expensive because more often than not you will likely need to re-do what could have been done properly with some more fore-thought. And re-do’s effectively slow you down – so do it right the first time! Having clarity of where you are going and how you will get there is crucial. So think it out, plan it out and get it done right the first time. That really is the quickest way to make effective decisions (and read #2 above again).
Some people are advocating that strategy is dead, and that the only way to be successful is to just make a decision and experience the results. For most people running a business, if one does that and gets it wrong they may be out of business. The idea is to be smart with making decisions in a changing environment – not foolish. Only people with more money than they know what to do with it can afford such foolishness. Read this article to see why.
So, accepting Change is the start. If you need help structuring a decision-making process within a change environment, please call me – I am sure I can help. Neville 905-886-2235
By Neville Pokroy
Neville Pokroy has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of business growth, strategy and marketing, from big business to sole proprietorships. His hands-on experience spans the most basic to the most strategic, and everything in between. This has provided him with tremendous insight at all levels of the marketing discipline, and in particular, how it impacts on the ability of businesses to leverage marketing as a prerequisite for growth in a changing world. Call me today 905-886-2235
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