Last time I talked about the momentous changes we are all facing and how you can help your clients navigate these. However, before you can do this you also need to understand, embrace and manage the changes that the future will bring for your own business. How will you evolve to meet these challenges and exploit the opportunities our changing world and society will bring?
It is a sensible business strategy to ensure that every change you make, no matter how small, should be planned and implemented with care. We have all seen how the best-intentioned changes have sometimes brought chaos.
If you have ever studied change management and I’d be surprised if over the years you haven’t, then you will be aware that most change consultants split the change process into four key areas. I’d like to talk about these over the next few weeks. These are:
Let’s start with understanding what is happening all around us.
Lao Tzu the ancient Chinese philosopher and writer is credited with saying:
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
Not understating the change that is happening all around us and defining what this means for our business, clients and future customers is risking our business future.
Those that do not review the landscape they operate in risk stagnation and could even be overtaken by those who do see what the future can deliver.
This is best illustrated for me in the story of Blockbuster, which was at its height a $5bn company, employing 84,300 people across the globe in over 9k stores. In the year 2000 Reed Hastings co-owner of a small tech company called Netflix managed to secure a meeting with the CEO of Blockbuster John Antioco.
Nеtflіх wаѕ founded in Аuguѕt 1997 іn Ѕсоttѕ Vаllеу, Саlіfоrnіа bу Наѕtіngѕ аnd Маrс Rudоlрh. Тhеу hаd wоrkеd together in Наѕtіngѕ Соmраnу Рurе Аtrіа.
Іnѕріrеd bу thе ѕuссеѕѕ оf Аmаzоn, thеу ѕtаrtеd Nеtflіх with а ѕіmіlаr соnсерt. Nеtflіх wаѕ originally an оnlіnе rental соmраnу thаt ѕеnt DVD’ѕ thrоugh thе роѕt.
Hastings flew to the Blockbuster Dallas Head quarters and presented them with the opportunity to buy Netflix for $50 million. The proposal was that Netflix would evolve the Blockbuster brand into an online model, while the nine thousand stores would promote the Netflix proposition.
The urban myth is that Hastings was laughed out the room, this is unfair on the Blockbuster CEO John Antioco, who was a very professional individual with an impressive and successful history in retail,
Antioco and his team declined the deal because they believed Netflix was a niche business with no future that was losing money.
They had a profitable business, so why should they change? What they failed to do was look beyond today and research and imagine what their world would look like in the years ahead. They ignored the behaviours of their current customers and how these would evolve in the future.
Blockbuster went bankrupt In 2010 and closed all of its stores except for one which bizarrely has been turned into an Airbnb. As for Netflix well they are a multibillion-dollar company but still losing money!
Blockbuster failed to look and prepare for what was around the corner. A classic failing of so many businesses, but easily done. We might think we are doing well, profitable and growing but we should still take time to peer around that corner, at the changes that are coming and create a plan to exploit them.
I’d urge everyone to make time to sit down and reflect on these key questions:
Once you have these answers it’s time to analyse them and try to understand the changes you are facing.
Before you create your plan for change, take this information and write down your answers to the following questions based on the data you have collected:
Once you have thought this through, then it’s time to develop your plan for change and we will look at that next time.
In the meantime, please take the opportunity to think about how our world is evolving and what it could look like in 3 to 5 years.
Ask yourself how will these events and trends impact on your clients and your business. Put simply, I urge everyone to make time to look around the corner and see what is coming and identify what it means for you and your business.