When was the last time you gave any serious thought to your future? Can you say with confidence and honesty that you are consciously creating your future?
In the 21st century, the boundaries of business are not precisely defined, and the rules of the game are vague, ambiguous, and often fleeting.
Many companies worldwide have slipped out of contention as their business models fail to keep up in these turbulent times.
Huh? Did I hear someone say Blackberry?
You can’t afford to rest on your laurels
Past success, particularly big success, often makes companies think they have unlocked the answer to everything, so they just keep doing whatever has been successful in the past.
They don’t bother considering other possibilities, and often sooner than later, they lose their position when the market shifts from beneath them, right under their noses.
In other words, you endanger future success by choosing to operate based on your past success. If you let past success blind you, you won’t notice relevant changes until it’s too late. The pace of change and advancement in the global business environment is now so quick that you have to be flexible, aware and innovative to stay successful.
Once you punch your way to the top, you have to stay on your toes to keep that championship belt.
It’s not all doom though. These changes don’t bring challenges only but opportunities too. However, to seize them, you must be willing to challenge traditional perceptions.
How can you perceive new possibilities when you are still doing business as usual?
Maintaining normal business structures and practices keeps you within your comfort zone and prevents you from going beyond the bounds of what is deemed normal and customary by your sector or industry.
You have no choice but to stay average, unremarkable, mediocre, and run-of-the-mill.
This is where innovation comes in. Innovation is vital for any business that desires to get ahead and yet innovation cannot be created unless you are open to change.
Take note that innovation doesn’t necessarily mean invention. Often, it can mean just acting on an idea you have already recognized, or adapting existing solutions for other markets.
Are you ready to swim against the tide?
However, to create space to do this, you first have to be aware of the business orthodoxies and management dogmas your business currently subscribes to. Look for the assumptions in routines, processes, and procedures that determine how management and operations get carried out on a day-to-day basis.
Typical processes include strategic planning, financial planning and budgeting, project management, internal communications, hiring, performance reviews and assessments.
These processes tend to shape an organization’s culture by reinforcing certain behaviours and not others, so you can’t change your company’s culture without changing them.
Instead of operating based on what has worked in the past, start working in the realm of possibility. Give up the question, “How can I fix this?” and ask instead, “What can I do differently that would generate different possibilities?”
Can you feel the difference in the energy of those two approaches?
When you ask, “What can I do differently that would generate different possibilities?”, you are no longer constrained by neither your previous successes nor your previous failures. You are free to generate something different.
On the other hand, when you ask, “How can I fix this?”, you are still consumed by trying to do the same things better or committed to making what’s not working work and this keeps you creating and operating from the same limited set of options.
Remember, every choice you make determines what your future can be so you ought to be aware of what your choices will create. Whenever you make a choice—any choice—recognize what limitations and possibilities are being generated with that choice.
Chutisa Bowman is an author, speaker, columnist and globally recognized thought leader in human potential. She draws from her background in Psychotherapy and Ergonomics as well as 25 years of senior executive roles at a number of Australia’s largest retailers avid Jones, Coles Myers – Target and K Mart). Feel free to check out her blogs: No More Business As Usual and Pragmatic Futurist.