Articles Tagged ‘Change’

Move the Needle – Change

Friday, July 13th, 2012

It’s December of 2001, and I tell you that in the next decade you are going to throw away all of your CD’s and stream all of your music over the internet.
A few months later, I predict that you will visit one website (www.Google.com) whenever any question about a product, movie, or sports statistic pops into your head.

Let’s try something a little more recent. Imagine that it’s December of 2010 and we are having a conversation about the Indianapolis Colts. I proclaim that in 1 year we would be 0-13 and that it’s unlikely Peyton would ever play for the Colts again.

I can’t predict what company will dominate the next 10 years, which political party will win in 2012 or even if Andrew Luck is going to be the next Peyton Manning. However, there’s something of which I am absolutely certain – everything will change.

As the English proverb points out “change is the only constant”. While this constant has been true since the beginning of time, it is far more relevant since the dawn of the information age. Today an industry is born, fills with competitors and matures in the time it used to take General Motors to introduce a new model.
This phenomenon has virtually eliminated the ability to “rest on your laurels”. Regardless of how good your product or service is today, it’s likely that someone will offer something better in the next 18 months. You have to constantly innovate and improve if you’re interested in maintaining a competitive advantage – or just staying in business.

For example, let’s assume that for the last 5 years you have run a marketing firm that focuses on developing high end web sites. You’ve won many awards and your design is consistently recognized as one of the best in the industry.

Unfortunately, recently all your clients seem to want to talk about is Twitter, Facebook and SEO. Having great design is interesting, but not nearly as important as how many “likes” your fan page receives each week. The rules have changed and you need to be prepared to do the same.

While you may not have a crystal ball, there are a handful of simple strategies that will keep you informed.

First, look back at your industry 5 years and reflect upon what has already changed. Did you see it coming? Did it affect your sales?
How about your clients?
Next, pay attention to your competition both locally and on the national level. I have often said that I would rather borrow a good idea from a competitor than spend tons of resources coming up with everything from scratch. We can’t all be Steve Jobs.
Finally, subscribe to industry magazines, blogs and yes – even Twitter® messages. Innovation is taking place all around you and a bunch of talented individuals are writing about this change every day. If you’re not sure where to start, I would recommend that you consider Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and the Harvard Business Review.

As with most things in life, intellectually speaking this is easy. All you need to do is choose to execute.
Choose wisely.

C.J. McClanahan
Reachmore Strategies
317-576-8492
cjm@goreachmore.com

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When CHANGE Hits, What Happens to You?

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Ben Franklin said long ago that “nothing is certain except for death and taxes”. We need to add to that, nothing is certain except, change, death and taxes. Ben Franklin saw significant changes in his lifetime; but for us today, that change has steadily accelerated and that change is impacting our business every day. Here are examples of change that we have experienced in the last 10 years:

We used the yellow pages to find services and phone numbers, we didn’t know about Google.

Faxing was the fastest vehicle of getting information from one point to another, scanning and attaching a document was only in the comic books
Marketing was primarily: direct mail, radio, TV and yellow pages. Today, email, e-newsletters, blogs, Twitter and FSS feeds are the marketing vehicles that most small businesses use.

Employee training was accomplished with VHS tapes in a player with a TV. Today, it is live webinars for immediate feed back on questions that need answered.

Hiring was accomplished with interviewing, more interviewing with some in-house testing methods and a bunch of gut feeling. Today there are numerous on-line assessment systems for: first time hires, sales, management, line supervisors, management evaluations and more.

My cell phone 10 years ago was intermittent at sending and receiving; today smart phones can get emails, web access, and latest stock prices, weather, YouTube and much more. It is a virtual office in your pocket.

What worked in the past has no guarantee of working in the future. Both the internal and external operations of a business are changing at an ever-accelerating pace. New technologies, new products and services, new delivery systems and new competition, changes a local market on a consistent basis.
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Leaders Coping with Rapid Change

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011


Rapid Change, Identity Crisis, and Leadership Fundamentals:
How to Become a Leader of the Future

As we all know, our world is rapidly changing. In fact, the time-scale for change has suddenly become short compared to a human lifespan. This is both exciting and also very unsettling for most of us. As change accelerates, the demands placed on us as leaders are accelerating as well. As leaders, we hold the task of not only understanding the changes that are occurring, but also facilitating changes in others as we work to adapt to the new environmental realities.

One the most significant and least understood results of the rapid pace of change is how
it affects our identity. For decades, it was easy to draw our identity from our role in stable
companies. In fact, you could be employed by the same company for your entire adult
working career. Combined with the greater stability of marriages prior to the 70’s, it was
easier decades ago to have a strong sense of identity from what appeared to be a stable
world at home and at work.

But today as change marches on with increasing vigor, those external factors that
contributed to a stable identity are in flux. The company that you work for today, that
gives you a strong sense of identity may not be there tomorrow, next week, or next year.
And coming home to find that your spouse has decided to exodus your marriage is not
uncommon these days either. Therefore, as a leader, it’s easy to find your own identity in
a state of flux.

This new dynamic world that we find ourselves living in is demanding something different
from us as leaders: to begin a journey inward, and to create a strong, solid inner
foundation from which we can lead, live and respond to our rapidly changing world. Put
another way, today’s world is inviting us to go back to the basics and master the
fundamentals that are critical to strong leadership and personal well-being. The
increasing complexity of the world is demanding that we evolve as people and as
leaders, that we anchor our identity not on something external to us, but on something
within us. We are being challenged to develop an unshakeable inner character and
strength that can weather the storms brought on by rapid and unpredictable changes.
This invitation to turn inward applies not only to us as leaders, but also to those we are
leading. Today’s quickly-changing world is demanding that more and more people take a
leadership role, to be more proactive in contributing to the world around them. The day
of putting leaders on a pedestal and expecting them to solve all the problems are rapidly
ending. Today’s world is demanding that each individual step into a leadership role,
taking more responsibility for who they are, how they show up, and how they are – and
can – contribute to the company’s and world’s well-being and future. We are all being
asked to grow up and achieve higher levels of maturity.

Recently, my coach and I were discussing how many of the leadership development
programs of today just aren’t that effective, as reported by leaders themselves. This is
true, in part, because many leaders simply do not have a philosophy of leadership on
which to ground their learning. We have substituted shallow “learning about” – which
includes an arsenal of tips and techniques – for a deep embodiment of learning that is
anchored in who we are as leaders and what we stand for. In other words, the typical
leadership development program doesn’t get down into the BEING level of who we are
as a person. We consume learning programs like we consume products: buy it, digest a
little of it, get a small sense of accomplishment around it, and then discard it – moving on
to the next one.
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