Your job as you know it and your business as it is currently run will eventually change. The only chance any of us have for prosperity is to constantly reimagine, rethink and reinvent everything we do and how we do it in order to remain relevant. We must all become re-inventors, and we’d better do it quickly.
Unless a business is constantly undergoing radical change, it will never be able to stay ahead of its customers’ constantly changing wants and needs, and its growth will first falter and then completely stop.Every business must be constantly and quickly changing, growing and moving forward or they’ll eventually find themselves in a downward spiral that will ultimately result in their demise. It’s not possible to embrace change and reinvent a business until you’re able to let go of the following eight reinvention killers:
- Yesterday’s Breadwinners. Every product or service has a natural life cycle that begins with an introduction, followed by growth, maturity and, inevitably, a decline as it becomes yesterday’s breadwinner. There are no exceptions.The bulk of revenues and profits of any service or product is generated during the growth and maturity phases. By the time it enters the phase of its natural decline, it should ideally have already been replaced with something more lucrative.
- Ego. The ability of an organization to embrace radical change and reinvention is determined by the ego of the person in charge; substantive change is never initiated from the mid level or bottom ranks of an organization.Keeping one’s ego in check requires serious introspection, and answering the most intimate and revealing question anyone will ever ask themselves: “Is it all about you or are you truly doing what you do for the interests and greater good of the organization?”
- Same Old, Same Old. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a death knell for any organization hoping to change. The net effect of not challenging or changing anything until it’s obviously broken is that a culture is created in which workers and managers become fire- fighters instead of proactive change agents. Any business that’s constantly sending its managers to fix what’s broken will become so preoccupied with temporarily fixing stuff in order to keep things the same that there will never be enough time for proactive reinvention.Businesses that master the art of embracing radical change are quick to fix and change things before they’re broken.
- Conventional Wisdom. “Conventional wisdom” is a phrase used to describe ideas or explanations that have been generally accepted as truths based on the past. Using conventional wisdom to predict likely future results is an innovation killer, because none of the old metrics and rules hold up anymore.If you possess an inquiring mind, then you’ve already got an advantage on this change killer. But if you don’t,the only way to make certain it doesn’t become a huge obstacle is to surround yourself with people who are prepared to constantly challenge the status quo.
- Entitlement. Few things stand in the way of radical change and reinvention as much as a sense of entitlement. Entitlement is the misguided and arrogant belief shared by so many business owners and executives that their business has a right to continue to exist and do well simply by virtue of either being in business or having been successful at some point.
- Greed. When the owners or leaders of a business are self-serving and greedy, treating the company as their own personal pocketbook, there’s no chance for any significant change or reinvention to occur. When they talk about change or reinvention, it’s only in the interest of tweaking things enough to keep things exactly the way they are for as long as possible, in order to fulfill their greed.
- Short-timers. CEOs and senior leaders who are thinking about leaving a company have effectively already left. The biggest favor they can do the organization is to get out of the way and allow the business to change and grow. A shared human condition is the desire to leave an organization on an even keel, with everyone sharing fond memories. However, those desires are hardly the things that make risk taking, radical change, and reinvention possible as it puts change on the back burner.
- Risk Averse. Some companies are averse to risk because they’ve actually seen so many of their peers fail. But it’s irrational to be paralyzed by the fear of risk taking. Half of all new ideas fail because they don’t get enough follow-up as they travel from off-site strategy sessions to everyday execution on the front lines. Leaders who troubleshoot their execution process and teach all managers how to get more follow-through can cut the odds of failure in half.