The World That Was and Is No More

What if I said that as humans our behaviors tend to gravitate around comfortable rhythms which often leads to dramatic chaos?

Not only that, but what if I also said that it has a way of limiting our business success and at times seeding its downfall.

Why would I say such a thing?
Getting into a rhythm in of itself isn’t bad, there’s the Sunday morning routine, how we interact with family & friends, and the way we approach work tasks. In fact, it allows us to function quite efficiently in a settled environment.

The danger from a business perspective is that we tend to blow past the last point – “in a settled environment”.

Here’s why
Economies always had and will continue to have plateaus of calm. In fact, substantial periods of clam have allowed humans to build the economic platform that powers our organizations to this day. We’ve grow accustom to this trend.

What we shouldn’t lose sight of, however, is the fact that things do not, and in some cases, should not remain unchanged. Looking at it from a generational timespan (about 30 years) and our economic pattern looks like a singular smooth arching line. Step forward and it looks entirely different; certainly the past few years with it various economic cliffs have shown this to be true. At this operating level you will see that what appeared to be singular and smooth is in reality multiple trends that unsymmetrically oscillate around each other. Even more revealing is the fact that the cycle between relative calm and uncertainty in contracting.

That’s right the rate of change is accelerating exponentially, it has become so quick that it is tough to even make short-term predictions accurately. In other words, don’t expect long periods of calm for constant change is the new normal.

You already feel this in your business. Competitors pop-up out of nowhere, successful methodologies have begun to fall flat, and you can’t seem to put your finger on what’s wrong but you know all is not right.

So, what must you do?
Here are three insights to help jump start your vision quest.

  1. Get liberated. Break connections to make room for your new ideas.
  2. Take a walkabout. Go discover new perspectives by talking to customers and industry insiders, and then challenge their unspoken assumptions. Develop a clearer understanding of the future drivers and constraints that will shape your market.
  3. Be comfortable with multiple realities. There is no one right. Pick a path to traverse and don’t be afraid of having to take a detour, being proven right, or hitting a dead-end being.

I’m not going to pretend that this is going to be comfortable, stressless, or pretty. But you’ll certainly come out the other side in better shape.

And, after all that’s what really counts.

Donald McMichacel teaches BE 261 – Starting a Small Business.
Follow him on Twitter at @DonaldMcMichael or Google+ at +Donald McMichael


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