I remember vividly in 1997 being at a fishing lodge just outside of Sitka, Alaska when one of our group pulled out a big, boxy phone made by Motorola and marched out to the shoreline to get good reception from the satellite and was capable of making a phone call. We were all amazed. Today when we visit that very same lodge, everyone pulls out their PC’s or their smartphones and takes advantage of the WiFi and we not only get to the internet, we can use Skype to call anywhere in the world for $.02 minute while also streaming all kinds of music and videos if we are so inclined.
In 1999, Peter Drucker made the statement that “One cannot manage change. One can only be ahead of it.” He went on to point out that we don’t hear much about “overcoming resistance to change” anymore. That topic was a popular among management experts in the 1990’s. At this point, everyone has pretty much accepted that change is unavoidable.
On the other hand, the majority of people still view change as similar to death and taxes. That is, it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would vastly preferable.
Because of all this, it’s wise to outline what today’s gutsy leader needs to do on a continuing basis:
1.) Face Reality and Develop a Plan – It’s never been more important to constantly study what’s going on with the latest trends/technologies and to seize the momentum and develop ways to take advantage of these things.
2.) Execution is Critical – You have to not only develop the plan, it needs to be executed with excellence. This requires personnel who are creative while also being highly disciplined in making things happen.
3.) Valid Measures Are a Necessity – You need to know how things are going at every juncture and this means you need the kind of data that truly does reflect reality on an ongoing basis.
4.) Constantly Making Course Corrections – No plan will be perfect and as you pursue implementation, you learn things that must be reflected quickly in modifying the plan and the execution. This requires people with agile minds and a genuine sense of urgency.
Drucker was dead right. You better be constantly working to stay ahead; not reacting to what’s going on and trying to catch up.