Change. It is one of the hardest, but most important, processes for a business to embrace. We have all seen businesses that appear to be paralyzed in response to economic, cultural or competitive pressures. Like a huge ocean liner, it takes time to head a business in a new direction.
You have a company like BlackBerry that owned the smartphone space until Apple blindsided them with the disruptive iPhone. Or think of the giant retailers that have experienced great success but find themselves struggling due to a combination of online competitors and generational shifts (Millennials will bring about a growing need for change).
Standing still is not an option.
Some Fortune 500 companies are becoming victims of their own past (in some cases, current) success. By resting on that success, companies allow others to challenge them, even surpass them. Their obsolescence becomes a fait accompli. They maximize short-term performance, worry about the risks of investing in new technologies and processes, and are concerned about the fallout of a perceived mistake.
My own priority is to protect the current revenue stream while simultaneously investing in innovation through controlled tests and pilot projects, serving to minimize expense and risk with minimal visibility. Complacency is a deadly sin. Companies need to constantly leverage their success and good fortune by investing in new products, services and competitive strengths. Managers need to step outside of their comfort zones. The status quo is never good enough. As the phrase goes, “If you’re not changing, you’re dying.” It is something we work on every day.