By Charles Alvarez , Contributor, the Price of Business Show. * Sponsored
There are three factors driving change today, each of them multiplying times each other to increase the speed of change.
The first change factor is the explosion of information and knowledge, in every area of our lives. One new discovery or piece of information in a competitive marketplace can change the dynamics of your business overnight. A popular product or service, or major industry, can be rendered obsolete by a new product or service that achieves the same result faster, better, cheaper or easier than something else.
For example, in 1989, when the Soviet Union dissolved, the Iron Curtain came down and the Cold War ended. The defense industry across America was severely shaken. Hundreds of thousands of highly trained and skilled men and women were laid offpermanently. Entire industries were shut down and certain parts of the country were thrown into recession. The effects of change were overwhelming and unavoidable. Only the flexible were able to react and respond effectively.
Be Open To New Information
To remain flexible, you must be constantly open, alert to new ideas, information and knowledge that can help you or hurt you in your business, or in the achievement of your goals. One new idea can be enough to make or lose you a fortune. One idea can start you on the road to riches, or knock you off it. One piece of information, at the right time, can save you enormous amounts of time, trouble and money. Lack of that information can cost you a fortune.
All leaders are readers. It is absolutely essential that you keep current in your field. Read the magazines and publications put out by your industry. Read the best selling books in your field. Attend seminars and conferences. Join your industry associations andnetwork with other people in your business. The power is always on the side of the person with the best and most current information.
The Tide of New Technology
The second factor driving change is the rapid growth and development of new technology. Every new piece of scientific or technical knowledge leads to a advance in technology aimed at helping people and companies get things done faster, better, cheaper or easier. And the speed of technological change is increasing every day.
The rule is that, “Whatever works is already obsolete.” A new piece of high-tech equipment put on the shelf is obsolete before it is unpacked. New technology today has a shelf life of six months before it is replaced by something that will do the job faster and cheaper. If you are not looking for ways to replace your product or service with something better, you can be assured that your competitors are staying up late at night looking for ways to do you one better and put you out of business.
Watch Out For the Comfort Zone
We spoke earlier about the “Comfort Zone” and how both individuals and organizations often fall into it and keep on doing the same things, over and over, whether they are working or not.
Sometimes the greatest danger to your long-term success can be short-term success. Success in any area can quickly breed complacency and a reluctance to change in response to the new realities of the marketplace. Don’t let this happen to you.
Competitive Pressures Are Unending
The third element driving change and requiring greater flexibility is competition. Your competitors, local, national and international, are more determined and creative today than they have ever been before. They are constantly looking for ways to take your customers away, steal your sales, reduce your cash flow and, if possible, put you out of business. They are aggressively selling their products or services using every argument and advantage they can possibly develop to undermine your position in the marketplace. Your competitors are aggressively using new information and technology to render you obsolete and to gain a competitive advantage.
Today, there are more companies, products, services and salespeople than there are customers or buyers for them. The competition is becoming tougher and more intense. If you want to survive and thrive in this market, you must become even more focused and determined yourself. Above all, you must be flexible.
Sponsored by the Price of Business, on Bloomberg’s home in Houston, TX