I’m wary of going here as every business generation has probably thought the same – but I really do feel that this is the most difficult era the business world has ever known.
Before the digital revolution, market changes came gradually. They happened at a manageable pace. Businesses could adapt without too much drama.
That is most certainly not the case now. Disruptive innovations are ten a penny. They’re supposed to help us, yet they can seem like space invaders in the old video game, hurtling towards our companies with ill intent. Even if we manage to adopt one or two, we might find we’ve backed the wrong horse and been left behind.
Squaring up to the brave new world of disruptive innovation is, without a doubt, discomforting. Yet the other way – sticking our fingers in our ears, going La la la, and pretending the world isn’t changing as quickly as it is changing – would, to use the video game analogy again, quickly mean Game Over.
It used to be that business benefited from a healthy dose of innovation now and then. Now business is innovation.
This is, of course, a complex scenario and digital disruption affects different companies in different ways. But one thing I am absolutely sure of: if you’re a successful business, that’s where responsiveness to this new VUCA environment of disruptive innovation is most important. Don’t let being at the top lure you into a false sense of security. The space invaders will be along very soon otherwise.
The good news for businesses at the top of their sector is that change management is relatively easy at the level of internal communications. The changes are not being undertaken from a place of anxiety at the top, so they need not generate that in the workforce.
A final word of warning, though: remember that change is hard for everyone. But by the time you, as a leader, roll out the changes, you have resolved yourself to them. You’re used to the idea. Probably you’ve embraced it. Not so for your teams, and they have the added downside of having this change imposed upon them. Factor that in when thinking about messaging.