"If you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you've always gotten." proclaimed Peter Urs Bender, keynote speaker and best selling author of five books including "Leadership from Within".
But Bender adds this warning, "If you continue to do what you've always done - you will get less. Just to stay even you must change what you do - and to grow you must change drastically how you do it." Bender spoke on communication and leadership skills. But his statement applies to most aspects of business and our career.
Changes leads to change.
The rule for leadership growth to change what you are doing - to capture new markets, growth and profit. Doing the same thing is not enough.
January is named after the Roman god, Janus who had two faces - one looking back and the other looking forward. Now is a good time for you to do both. Review the past year to list and celebrate your accomplishments. Also review your setbacks armed with hindsight to crystallize the wisdom you gained. Looking ahead - set your goals and map your path. But don't expect to keep doing what you are doing and get more. Prepare to change your approach just to get the same results. If you want to improve - do something dramatically different.
You can approach change in any one of three ways - resist, follow or lead. Are you still extolling the virtues of Beta over VHS or the superiority of the Avro Arrow? These make nice dinner conversations. The reality is, it happened, now move on. You might notice everyone around you with an Internet Web site then decide to keep up with the Jones's. Following is not bad - but it is only maintenance. Lead change by starting the day with, 'What can I change today?' instead of 'I wonder what change will do to me?' Where can I find a new market? How can I provide more value to my customers?
A local bowling alley decided to change by featuring glow-in-the-dark pins. Dim the lights, paint the pins, play loud music and voila - a new market, early teens. A mailing from Bell, complete with torn page and post-it notes, demonstrated their attempt to resemble the friendliness of a small company. They must change just to get back what they had. General Motors knew they needed change - and realized that they could not change fast enough. They spawned a new company - Saturn - with a new culture. A spokesperson from Saturn Canada told me, "The car is OK - it's the company that is different." Greyhound, well known as a bus company, changed to become an "inter-modal transportation company". You cannot survive if you keep on being the dependable company you've been for the last 20 or 30 years.
Massive government changes offer unimagined opportunities. Not long ago school boards argued over the sell-out to companies for sponsorship. Now school team-uniforms start to resemble those of race care drivers. The public sector is soliciting sponsors for libraries, school busses and even subway stations.
William Bridges, author of Job Shift, warns individuals that they should be looking for work - not jobs. Just to continue to earn a living you must retrain, learn new skills and change. Is this the year you go global, outsource, or re-position in the market? Change, like life is not a goal but an ongoing process - and like life when it stops - you're dead.
Whenever you feel things are changing too quickly, think of Superman - after 50 years - he donned a new costume - no cape - no red and blue! In the words of Alvin Toffler - this is Future Shock. If Superman can change so can you. If you want things to change - then change what you do.