“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr
Some leaders who experience fantastic growth in their companies, and themselves, can fall prey to the idea that what put them on top will keep them there. When it comes to good character, this is true. Unfortunately, if they’re relying on their past accomplishments to keep them competitive, the rest of the world will soon be leaving them behind.
At one time, Nokia was at the top of the cell phone industry controlling more than 40 percent of the cellphone market in 2007. Within seven years, Nokia was barely hanging on to 15 percent of the market.
Nokia reluctant to redesign its phone had become one dimensional compared to Motorola’s slim Razr and the trend toward flip phones. In the US, the demand was high for more customized designs, while Nokia becoming less competitive all but disappeared from the US market.
Both stubbornness and a lack of consumer awareness played a significant role in Nokia’s fall from the top. The unwillingness to change with the technology and shift with the current trends was all it took to end Nokia’s reign.
Change is Here to Stay
Leaders in every generation are preparing their companies for tomorrow while others stress over changing trends as if change hasn’t always been happening. Great leaders understand that achieving longevity requires the ability to navigate change; every decision you make will be tested and judged by the outcome tomorrow.
To stay competitive, have your company gain some insights from older companies who’ve navigated changing trends in customer behavior and successfully adapted to new technologies. Technology is always advancing, and if businesses do not learn and adapt, they cease to be competitive.
Chelsea Segal, CEO of Targetwise, advises, “Don’t be reactive when it comes to the latest technology trends. Often when a new technology is unveiled, there is a buzz around it long before it is released. Have your IT team analyze these upcoming technologies and assess whether they fit within your IT strategy, moving forward,” …Something Nokia never did.
In the US, Nokia did manage to make a comeback; short-lived as it was in 2013 it did manage to eclipse Motorola. Despite all their efforts late in the game, Nokia’s debt load proved to be insurmountable.
Peter Drucker writes, “Unless an organization sees that its task is to lead change, that organization—whether a business, a university or a hospital—will not survive. In a period of rapid structural change, the only organizations that survive are the ‘change leaders.”
10 Tips that Help Leaders Prepare Their Organizations for Change
Revisit your core values regularly – Are they timeless or dated?
Does your organization have a culture that welcomes challenges?
Know when changes are needed – What needs to change? What does that require? What are the estimated costs associated with that change?
Do you have a protocol for adapting to changes, and will it see you through each stage of your action plan?
Be aware of current global trends – study them before they impact you.
Learn from the successes and failures of others, and don’t repeat the failures.
Implement what you’re learning as soon as possible and assess regularly.
Allow your own experiences and that of others to educate you and your team.
Always be mindful of passing on what you’ve learned to those you are mentoring; it makes their learning curve that much easier
Finally, never buy into the myth that you have arrived.
“The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the buts you use today.” – Les Brown
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***