Change is difficult. This is especially true in the business world. I think the key to being truly successful doesn’t depend on knowing how to handle change; instead, it involves being the change. Every market grows and thrives on competition; when you become the force that drives change, you have an edge on your competition.
Unexpected change can have unexpected results. Your business may have a misstep and wind up uncovering an unknown vulnerability or opportunity in the market that your competitors will notice. This sets off a series of responses that can drastically shift the dynamics of a market – or even disrupt it entirely.
While this can sometimes be beneficial, it’s a far better idea to encourage proactive change rather than attempt to capitalize on random incidents. How you react to the unexpected is definitely important, but it’s more crucial to build your business on forward momentum.
Lead the Pack
When you strive to innovate and improve, you naturally move to the front of the pack. If there’s a tangible result, even changes that don’t wind up being as successful as you had hoped can still force your competition to respond. When you react to change rather than initiate it, you’ve already lost opportunities to connect with new customers or forge stronger relationships with existing ones.
When a market follows a company’s lead, the others look for unique ways to embrace this change to stay relevant. This is good for customers, because it encourages competing businesses to improve upon the successes of other businesses.
Some companies opt to play it safe and wait for the hype to end, but major changes are far more than hype – they can change the way an entire industry operates. Remember Blockbuster Video? The former entertainment giant shrunk to little more than a cautionary tale because of its refusal to adapt to a changing market.
Riding out the storm is also expensive; with today’s rapid business evolution, it’s often impossible. If you don’t adapt to a changing market, your business will wither. You may recover later, but your competition will be miles ahead. When you lead the pack, your competition will scramble to make up the difference. This keeps them off-balance and builds your credibility as a leader.
Drive the Results You Want
When you are the driving force behind change in your market, you can essentially guide the market to take the direction you want and shape it the way you like. Once you’ve broken ground as an innovator, your market’s customer base will know they can look to you first for new breakthroughs. By driving change successfully, you control the market and naturally attract more customers to your innovation.
Many business decisions in the modern business world are panicked, reactionary steps taken to handle change. As technology evolves, the concerns of modern business leaders are numerous; any one of them can be a nail in the coffin if mismanaged. Unfortunately, in many businesses, leaders are not seeking new ways to move the market. Instead, they stick with the status quo and switch things up only when they must scramble to make up lost ground in the face of change or disruption.
Be the Power of Disruption
The term “disruption” describes any breakthrough that changes the landscape of a competitive business market. The businesses of that market’s operations and ways of thinking are “disrupted,” and disruption usually means adapt or die. When you encourage a company culture focused on innovation, you’ll build enough steam so that it’s not just your customers who look to your brand for the next big thing – your competition will, too.
Once you become a disruptive market force, you’ll likely find a great measure of success. Your competition will need to keep a close eye on where you go from there. And when your competition gets in the habit of reacting to each of your latest breakthroughs, you’ll become the leader of your market and control the game. —Dan Newman, Cofounder of V3*Broadsuite
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