Invisible Environmental Changes

Today’s environment is busy changing around us at such a speed that most of us are not even noticing these non-stop ongoing changes.

We are often, not always, taken by surprise by an event that occurs in our external environment that we were not anticipating.

I have seen people in business becoming experts at what they do in their business while the environment is changing around them at a rapid rate and that by the time they realize this, their business is almost obsolete.

Such rapid change can be quite frightening.  The rate of rapid change is increasing dramatically.

Examples abound: Is the country you are living in the same as even ten years ago?  Are you fully conversant with your current technical devices before you buy the newer ones?  Is your retirement plan of ten years ago still relevant today?

Even an age old activity like farming is changing rapidly today.

The question is, how do we cope with these changes and what can we do to try and stay on top? 

One cannot have prepared for every unexpected event and often the change that takes place is entirely out of our control.  It’s often an unexpected governmental, technological or socio cultural change.

The fading away of businesses like Blockbuster, fax machines, newspapers, wall calendars and house telephones are a few examples of our rapidly changing life.

You may be in an industry in which you are an expert in the technicalities in the business, but the signs are there-things are not looking that good and you may be unsure which way to turn.

A really big step is to start preparing yourself psychologically for future events. 

Start by truly accepting that nothing lasts forever and nothing will be the same as it was. 

This is not as easy to accept as it sounds. Your favorite place that you go to, your pattern of life and the way you have lived it, the things you do, they all change, and not necessarily for the better.

Once you internalize that everything around you is changing, that nothing will be the same, you are in a better position to accept that this environmental change is going to affect your work as well. 

Knowing and accepting this inevitability, condition yourself to start thinking ahead every week of your life so you can anticipate change as opposed to being overtaken or overwhelmed by change.

Start by drawing up two columns on your note pad or device: The External Environment and the Internal Environment.

Your external environment would include technology, economic, governmental, legal, political and socio cultural factors.

Your internal environment would include your business financial position, your marketing situation, your production, R&D, and your organization values- that’s the people side.

Now take each of these sub headings and ask yourself what is happening in each category relative to your business.  For example: what is the government up to that will affect your business?  What legislation are they talking about that will impact your business. Then relate this possible government action to every other category.  How will it affect your marketing, your people, your bottom line?

Do this exercise away from your office and your home so you can really concentrate.

You will be amazed at how this will help you to think clearly so you can start taking the necessary action to reduce unexpected environmental surprises.

If you are not comfortable doing this by yourself find an experienced consultant to walk you through the entire exercise.

This one step will help you to read more in order to gather relevant information.

Listen to persons from inside and outside your industry, travel if you can, to destinations where you can learn more, and update yourself about your industry and associated industry changes. 

Most people fear change.  Many would rather avoid change than face it.

Addressing the possible changes upfront and before they occur  will make the change experience easier for yourself. If you know what is coming down the road you can prepare what to do about it.

Remember that the future will never be the same as the past.  Internalize this thought and protect your wealth.

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