Thinking About What You Have To Do
By Terry L. Brock
Ouch! Change is rippling across our world and it shows no signs of stopping. This constant change causes problems but it also creates enormous opportunities. I wish I would have come up with the concept of “creative destruction” but a great economist named Joseph Schumpeter beat me to it.
Schumpeter talked a lot about the concept in capitalism where we create new ideas and these destroy what was in place before. It is a never-ending process of destroying what existed and replacing it with the new order.
Each time in history that such a change occurs, there are the cries of “I’ve never seen it this bad” from those most directly affected. And yes, they are right but it is not unusual.
The situation is such that an existing force has ruled for a period of time. Then along comes this new upstart that nips at the heels of the established power and eventually eats into its dominance.
Think of what happened with the railroads in the early 1900’s. They had been the dominant force for decades. However, this new upstart called the horseless carriage eventually displaced it.
We saw another earthquake of change back around WWII. Philco Radio was going to always be in place as the dominant provider of audio communication (or so some thought). Well, this new upstart from just-beaten Japan came into existence and Sony became a name that stands for quality not only in audio but many other areas. Even today, CDs are being displaced by Apple’s iPod and other portable MP3 players.
Then there was IBM who was the dominant voice in computers and technology. Along came a bunch of scrappy kids from the Pacific Northwest in a little outfit called Microsoft that eventually displaced Big Blue as the dominant force.
One of the major earthquakes of change occurring today is in broadcast television and radio. In the past the local network TV station had a monopoly on programs. If you owned the CBS affiliate when “All in the Family” aired and was number 1 in the market, you could charge whatever the market would bear. If you had exclusive rights to “Bonanza” or “Gunsmoke” you could call your own shots.
Today all that is changing because of video on the Internet and the penetration it is making. Checkout You Tube (http://youtube.com/) to see what is being done with video. Millions are now appearing on the Net with their own video. Sure, a lot of it is not professional and often boring. However, isn’t a lot of regular television like that anyway???
Video blogging, or vlogging, is sweeping the political landscape. Senators and Members of Congress are using video blogs to communicate their messages more effectively. They can go around the quick sound bites allowed on traditional network television and send their entire, unedited message to the faithful as well as the curious. This is going to be the hot medium for the 2008 Election.
Those that can master change and adapt best to it will succeed. This is the way it has been throughout history. But the challenge is that it goes against our very nature as human beings. We want to sit back and relax. We want to “enjoy the fruits of our labors.”
One thing I’ve found in my business is that the moment I sit back, lace my fingers behind my head, prop my feet up on the desk and think that I’m all set with nothing more to do---that is the first sign of a downfall. Life and business are such that we grow and do best when we’re stretching, grasping and clawing to improve ourselves and our products. When we sit back and relax, we open the door for the competition to come around with something new and creative.
Ethanol is being touted as a possible replacement for fossil fuels. If you are in the oil industry, you are acutely aware of this threat as well as others. That’s why so many good energy companies see themselves as not in the oil business but in the energy business. They have to explore all sorts of new options. Since Brazil is a country that is importing no foreign oil and fueling their industry through ethanol, it is highly worth our investigation.
So, how does this relate to you in your business? There is good news and bad news. First, the bad news: Whatever you’re doing now can be done probably cheaper by someone else and probably with a great deal of quality and value---in time. If you sit back and don’t continue to revise, improve and get better, you will fall behind and eventually be overtaken by either an existing competitor or some unknown upstart. Remember, IBM had no idea what Microsoft was up to or that it would be as big as it has become.
Constantly renew and improve. Always make yourself better by reading, listen to quality educational audio, attending seminars regularly and making yourself and your products better. If you’re too busy to sharpen the axe, you won’t be able to cut down as many trees. Besides, they have some new technology that uses this device called a chain saw that isn’t smashed against a tree, like the axe, but cuts faster and easier. Education matters!
The good news is that within the creative destruction lie enormous opportunities. You might step slightly aside and do something else. You might offer enhanced services or products based on new rules and new tools that exist.
Either way, a world of opportunities exist for you as you embrace the (sometimes painful) change and allow creative destruction to be the kick in the pants that you need to reposition, redevelop and re-energize yourself and your business.
Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at email@example.com or through his website at www.terrybrock.com.
Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.