I didn’t write that headline, Mark Twain did. Twain knew a lot about human nature; and he pulled no punches when he wrote about the stubborn way most people cling to old ideas and the comfort of the status-quo.
What was true in Mark Twain’s day is still true today, only more so. You and I are living and working in a time of unprecedented and accelerating change. Overnight, a new idea, product or technology can eclipse what your company makes, or how you make and deliver it. Rapid change brings unprecedented opportunities to companies that are adaptable and creative, but it can bring disaster to those who aren’t. There are thousands of examples; here’s one:
For more than a hundred years Eastman Kodak dominated the photographic film market. As late as 2005 Kodak’s stock was rated ahead of Apple’s. But Kodak failed to make the transition to digital photography fast enough to hold onto its lead. The result: In 2012 Kodak filed for bankruptcy, while Apple was listed as one of the most valuable companies on earth—largely because Apple’s technology and innovative spirit allowed them to change the way most people take their photos: by phone, instead of by film.
MIT professor Lester Thurow isn’t nearly as funny as Mark Twain, but he is dead-on when he says, “A competitive world has two possibilities for you. You can lose. Or, if you want to win, you can change.”
Adapting to change is not just a technique, it’s an attitude. If you are a leader, convince your team to start seeing themselves as “agents of change” rather than “victims of change.” Help them see that change doesn’t have to be an aggravation, it can be an adventure. Try embracing the future rather than resisting it, and you will embark on one of life’s most interesting, exciting and rewarding adventures.
1) Change is here to stay; it’s going to get faster, not slower.
2) Those who embrace change will win; those who resist change will lose.
3) See yourself as an agent of change, not a victim of change.