A former high school classmate recently greeted me with this comment, “You look exactly the same. You haven’t changed a bit.”
My initial reaction was gratitude for the kind words and a moment of pride that I had apparently held up exceptionally well over the decades since our last encounter.
Then I wondered if the real meaning in the message was that at the age of 18 I looked like a middle-aged quickly approaching senior. I settled on the realization that “You look exactly the same” is what adults say when they can’t think of anything else. I’m pretty sure that my former classmate used, “Stay just the way you are” as their go-to inscription in high school yearbooks, too.
The brief encounter served as a reminder, however. Change is inevitable for your business just as it is for your life. The only choice is how you change. You can be proactive to remain relevant, or you can live in the glory days of the past assuming everything is just as it was. Even doing nothing, however, represents a change.
Here are three questions to help you ensure that the changes you will make in your business in the coming year are by choice and not the irrelevance that comes from neglect.
- What must you embrace to remain relevant? One answer to this question must be that very few people care about your past success. They will allow you the occasional remembrance, but they won’t continue to view you as important to their world today if you assume that all is well. Beyond that, what are the realities of how your products or services are viewed in the marketplace? What is the new standard for excellence being set by your competitors?
- What do you need to discard to create space for the next iteration of your business? Clutter keeps you from focusing on and utilizing the existing parts of your business that are important for success both now and in the future. Most important, it captures time, energy, and resources that would be better used focusing on the future. Here’s a rule of thumb: If it doesn’t or can’t add value, it should be gone.
- How will you maintain a sense of curiosity and wonder about the future? Young businesses are in some ways like young children. They approach each day with a sense of excitement and anticipation. They are inherently curious to learn new things. They view the world through perspective of fresh eyes. Over time, they see and rely on familiar patterns that allow them to make quicker decisions. In short, they grow up. There will always be a place for the “old ways,” but the future will belong to those who remain curious and excited about the future.
We tend to think of the New Year as a time of new beginning. The speed of change today requires us to shorten our time horizon. Every day is an opportunity to change and grow.
The philosopher Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
What will you do today to ensure that the changes you will make are the result of choice and not neglect?
Randy Pennington is an award-winning author, speaker, and leading authority on helping organizations achieve positive results in a world of accelerating change. To bring Randy to your organization or event, visit www.penningtongroup.com , email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 972.980.9857.You