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How Quickly Can You Change?


One of the big stats that gets rolled out a lot lately is that the lifetime of big businesses is shorter than ever before.

Depending on the publication, that might mean the lifetime of a company or the time that a company spends listed on a stock exchange.

I guess that is like much of life.

The devil is in the details.

But one thing I think is never mentioned in any conversation that can highlight why the volatility present in the market is greater than at any other time has to do with the idea that maybe we aren’t changing rapidly enough.

I am often reminded of this any time I revisit Peter Drucker’s class Harvard Business Review article about “The Theory of the Business.”

In the piece, Drucker talks about the need to approach innovation and change in your business from the point of view that you have to accept the industry or business as it is, not how you wish it was.

I think that one of the primary drivers of the destruction and deterioration of so many businesses and classic brands has as much to do with an inability to quickly change as it does with any feeling of desire or need for the hot new thing.

The truth is that no matter what era we have lived in, business environment changes and customer tastes have changed.

What has often occurred is that businesses have evolved to reflect the current desires and needs of the business world.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case over the last decade or two.

Instead, we have seen that more and more businesses attach themselves to dearly to tired or outdated business models, even when the market and environment reflects that they should be doing something different.

That’s what makes the story of the NFL’s ratings decline so interesting to people.

Despite the fact that the NFL is still raking in dough and ratings, something about the relationship with the league and the market is off.

That’s also what makes all of the stories about airlines and their failings at customer service pretty interesting. We know that people are flying because they need to fly to get from one place to another, but we also know that something is off.

It is the same thing that underlines the disgruntled feedback fans are giving about trying to buy tickets through Verified Fan for a lot of premier shows. We know that fans are feeling stepped on, but we don’t know why or we don’t want to recognize why.

This list goes on and on.

But I think the biggest issue is that you have to be willing to always revisit your business and adjust to the environment that you are working in, not the one that you want to operate in.

Which really comes down to change.

How quickly can you change? And, are you brave enough to take the risk?