It’s obvious that rapid times require rapid change. And as we go careening into the future, there’s only one certainty – we’re in for a lot more change. That’s why it’s a great time to adopt some resolutions that will get you out of a complacency-funk and into an innovation-mindset – one that will help you turn change into opportunity.
Hire people you don’t like. The reason you don’t like them is because they are different, and that is probably the exact reason why their ideas are important. In a world in which things are changing so rapidly, you might not have all the insight to understand what is really going on. Different people think differently, and since the world is more different everyday, that makes them good people to have around!
Forget everything you know. Relearn — quickly. The pace of evolution of knowledge is now so quick that entire careers and industries are changing faster than ever before. Medical knowledge is now doubling every eight years; it is said that half of what a student learns in their freshman year in a science or technology program is out of date by the time they graduate. Sixty five percent of the kids in preschool today will work in jobs that don’t yet exist. Statistics like this clearly indicate that knowledge is momentary — learn to grab it when you need it, and don’t assume that what you know right now will have any relevance tomorrow.
Get young. Throughout the next year, take the time to listen to young people — anyone 10 years younger than yourself, or even more. They’re building the future right now, and you’d do well to understand it. Their future is hyper-active, interactive and multi-tasking – this generation gets bored quickly, and they are entering your workplace. They are also becoming your new competitors. Don’t expect them to subscribe to the same old beliefs as to structure and rules, working hours, and corporate culture, or business models. You won’t survive in their future if you don’t take the time to understand what they are doing, talking about, and thinking.
Appreciate wisdom. At the same time you listen to young people, be patient with anyone 10 years older than yourself. They might not — get it,” and you might find their aversion to change to be frustrating, if not infuriating. Yes, they might be holding you back in terms of new business models and opportunities, but there might be a reason for that. The fact is, they possess something that you might not yet have – experience, and the wisdom that comes from — having been there.” Your impatience for change might delude you into thinking that things are far easier than they really are; they know better, and have the battle scars to prove it.
Forget permanence. Everything is transient. The market you are in today probably won’t exist tomorrow. Many consumer electronic product companies are now involved with product lifecycles that last but six months or a year at best, driven by what I call hyper-innovation. Service industries are witnessing heightened competition and rapid time to market. All this is happening at the same time that your customers have changed, with the result that loyalty can now be but a quaint concept in many markets. Get with the program – everything is temporary, and change is constant. Accept that, and the rest comes easy, since it will help you to focus on what needs to be done, rather than looking back at what was done.
Make decisions. Don’t be someone who asks “what happened?” — make things happen. Far too many people have forgotten how to analyze information and move forward based on what they see. Worse yet, the idea of making a gut-feel decision and taking a risk seems to have disappeared with the culture of compliance that surrounds us. The world won’t wait for you to make a decision – it will simply move on. So do something — it will feel good, and will help you to get ahead of those who are still wallowing in their attitude of aggressive indecision!
Change your focus . Old glories and corporate nostalgia won’t define future success — aggressiveness and adaptability will. Stop thinking about the past, and focus firmly on the future. Ask yourself these questions: do you actually know what major trends will affect your industry, profession and career in the next five years? Could you define the biggest threat to your company or career five years out? What career skills you will need at that time? The most important trait that you can work on developing through the next year is becoming more forward-oriented, so that you can spot the trends, opportunities and challenges that will define your future.
Trap creativity. It surrounds you, and its’ a precious resource. – the ideas, thoughts, and initiatives of those who surround you can be your most potent weapon. In ’05, place less emphasis on innovation-killing buzzwords such as — compliance”, — risk management” and — “accountability.” Re-adapt the buzzwords that count: — brainstorming,” — innovation” and — risk taking”. We’ve become far too focused on managing instead of growing, and to deal with the rate of change that surrounds us, we must get back onto a growth agenda.
Think “clear and present opportunities.” Don’t focus on the negativity of change. Instead, think about what can be done — opportunity in a world of constant change is limitless. New business models, markets, ways of working, skills access – everywhere you look, opportunity abounds. Shift your perspective, and things can easily fall into place.
Get excited, be happy. Studies show most people don’t like what they do. That’s sad. Change your attitude, and you’ll find that things really can improve. The next year is full of opportunity, and it’s yours if you want it!