3 fundamental lessons about change that strategists must understand


“You must accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Serenity Prayer

Like you, in my neck of the woods, I’ve observed that business leaders have a complete disregard for the forces of change in the world and much less in their industry. They understand their business very well, but not what is changing or will change their business.

And if they think they have an idea of what is changing, they adopt a “wait and see” approach and look at their competitors for direction.

Basically, their business acumen is non-existent. They base their strategy (if any) on luck and hope. And you know very well that luck and hope is not a strategy. They obviously think that because they’ve “been doing this for a long time” and it has worked for them thus far, that they somehow control their fate.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Three fundamental lessons about change are of paramount importance (from the book The Strategist):

  1. You must understand the competitive forces in your industry. How you respond to them is your strategy. That means if you don’t understand them, your strategy is based on luck and hope.
  2. Even if you understand your industry’s competitive forces, you must find a way to deal with them that is up to the challenge.
  3. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the power of these forces. Their impact on the destiny of your business may well be as great as your own.

Ok, now on to the next task. How do you start developing your business acumen? Here are a few questions to help you get started:

  1. What is happening in the world today?
  2. What does it mean for others?
  3. What does it mean for us?
  4. What would have to happen first (for the results we want to occur)?
  5. What do we have to do to play a role?
  6. What do we do next?

Answering these questions doesn’t mean that you will have it all figured out, it simply means that you will, at the very least, have started a new thought process.

Image credit: Anna Kuzicheva

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