Why you should be excited by change


Change is inevitable:

As the old saying goes, change is inevitable except from a vending machine. We cannot avoid it because it’s going to happen whether we like it or not. Trying to stop it is like trying to hold back the tide. It cannot be done. It’s simply a force of nature.

If you hate change, don’t worry you’re not alone. Most people hate it. Just when we think we have everything under control a significant change happens and suddenly we’re scrambling to get ourselves back to equilibrium. It makes life seem like a giant game of Snakes and Ladders.

Fear of change is natural:

Actually feeling uncomfortable when faced with change is both rational and natural because one of the most basic human needs is the need to feel secure. It’s an uncomfortable experience because it makes us feel insecure. However we must control any fear we have about it and we must have the courage to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we respond appropriately as the winds of change start blowing around us.

Businesses can be fragile:

Change can affect a business in many ways, as plenty of things can change for a business over time. That could include consumer needs and wants; technology; markets; competition; and regulations too, particularly taxation. Therefore business owners and executives must be on their guard constantly, anticipating change and how it might affect their business.

Whether you’re an owner, an executive or an employee, if you’re involved with business you cannot afford to become too complacent. Ignore change and it will kill the business quicker than you might imagine. Businesses can be fragile if they’re exposed suddenly to the harsh reality of change.

Change on an industrial scale:

It’s easy to think that major corporations which dominate whole industries would be robust when faced with change.

Consider for instance the computer industry. IBM was once the behemoth of that industry. There was an old saying in industry which suggested, no one ever got fired for buying IBM. They were Big Blue, second to no one. And yet they almost paid the price for failing to anticipate changing trends.

For years IBM favoured large centralised computer installations which filled whole buildings. And IBM didn’t see any reason to do anything differently as they were in the business of supplying these and making very good money from it.

Neither did they think initially that many people would actually need one. As recently as 1943 Thomas Watson, then Chairman of IBM said, “I think there’s a world market for maybe five computers.”

However IBM’s lack of foresight didn’t end there. Having introduced what we now call the PC to the market in 1982, they didn’t actually believe it had any real future. Apparently their original forecast for global sales for the PC was just 25,000 units worldwide.

IBM didn’t really want PCs to sell because they saw centralised corporate computer systems as where the real money was. Their failure to see the potential of the PC allowed Microsoft to move in and become a dominant player at IBM’s expense.

Failure to recognize changing trends and how they would affect demand for computers and the way computers were going be used had an almost catastrophic consequences for IBM. Though they did manage to adapt eventually, it was not before their business came dangerously close to collapse. And to this day they do not dominate the industry as they once did.

Heavyweights no more:

Another good example of a dominant industry player failing to recognise the winds of change was Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). They were the leading supplier of what were then known as mini-computers back in the late 1970s.

However it seems DEC allowed their dominant industry position to cloud their judgment because back in 1977 Ken Olson then President, Chairman and founder of DEC observed that, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”

Where is DEC now? They’re nothing more than a footnote in the history of digital technology. Few people, other than old computer industry hands, will even remember the name.

And yet the demand for computer technology products is greater than it has ever been. Every household has several of them in the form of desktops, laptops and, in particular, tablets and smartphones.

Today the computer industry is dominated by companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google. None of these companies even existed when Mr Olson made his unfortunate comment back in 1977.

Another good example is Kodak, once the dominant player in the photographic products industry. As recently as 1976, Kodak commanded 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the United States. Where are they now? Nothing like the company they once were that’s for sure.

Change is an opportunity

Set aside the fear of change and you’ll see that it’s not necessarily a bad thing because it actually generates opportunities for the fleet footed. So there is a positive dimension too.

If it’s embraced then opportunities are always there for the taking. Most companies, particularly large corporations, are usually too slow to respond to change but that offers plenty of scope for smaller, faster, more flexible businesses to move in and relieve the big boys of their lunch.

See change positively

Let’s face it if everything always remained the same then we’d all still be living in caves.

In developed countries we enjoy a standard of living that would have been beyond the imagination of people even a century ago. Think about that statement for a second; everything we now take for granted today once didn’t exist.

The point here is that we ignore change at our peril.

It’s better to embrace change positively. Yes it will feel uncomfortable but we’ll get used to it in time. If change is going to happen anyway then we might as well see what’s in it for us, surely?

We should be constantly considering how we can exploit change to our advantage. How we can grab the opportunities it presents as they come along.

Make trends your friend:

In order to exploit change we need to become trend-watchers. And not just single trends. We need to be watching each and every trend that might have an impact on ourselves or our businesses.

And we need to consider how those trends might come together to create a perfect storm, the winds of which might do us harm or become the wind beneath our wings. Whether the consequences are good or bad, we must be ready for them.

Conclusion:

Successful people are adept at exploiting opportunities brought about by change. Change is synonymous with opportunity it’s that simple. Never fear change, you must embrace it.

If success is your aim, then change can be your friend. However never underestimate the harm change can do should you become too complacent. It can be a force for good but equally a dangerous force for the unwary.

How do you regard change? I’d be interested in your views too.

Other Articles:

What is the key to success?

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.


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