The Lifeguard on Stubborn Pond

By Ray Stasieczko, BEI Services – Recently I heard someone say, they were there to save an industry! It was at that second; I realized why some leaders in transitioning industries, are much too obligated to yesterday. For some it’s not about saving an industry, it’s about saving a deliverable or a process which yesterday’s benefactors have become less appreciative of today. Caution!

“During disruptive times self-preservationist may disguise themselves as lifeguards.”     

So, here’s my thinking. It’s not about saving. Just the word itself screams bring me back to life and make what I do last forever. Well, sometimes things must die to facilitate the growth of what will be new. In my mind, it’s not about saving industries being disrupted. It’s about re-inventing them.

There are too many wishful thinkers, unfortunately wishing for the wrong thing. In all businesses the evolution of products, people, and circumstances cause a constant modification process. Let’s stop thinking about how what we do must be somehow saved from extinction allowing us to do it forever. Instead, let’s think about how what we do must modify to remain relevant.

 “If you have to change you waited too long and should have modified along the way.”

Today the world moves so fast that yesterday is history and the future is closer than ever to today. Both agility and speed are needed to survive. In the past, the lease was longer on the vehicles customers used to get the outcome they desired. Remember;

“Customers buy outcomes the means to their achievement always changes.” Meaning you must constantly be modifying.

Today progressive organizations are re-inventing themselves and winning against their peers who decided to focus on saving yesterday so they might live tomorrow. During innovation stop thinking about circumventing evolutionary changes or, saving something; stop thinking about how customers benefited by you in the past. Instead, listen to both their voices and their actions telling you what they want from the future.

Customers are not obligated to remain in the past to keep you company. One’s stubbornness’s to the way things were will not survive their customer’s quest for the freshness of a new future. Customers today have more and more options. Stop rejoicing about yesterday while your customers are being invited to the future by new competitors some born there or your old peers who moved there.

Re-invention is the reality of our ever-innovating world. So, stop trying to save an old value proposition and instead re-invent a new one.

In Closing: Beware of the lifeguards on the Pond called, Stubborn these lifeguards are there to save themselves by keeping you from swimming to the future.

 “A company becomes obsolete when they focus on bringing the past to the future, instead of bringing the future to the present.”

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