I want you to take a moment and ask yourself: are you afraid of change?
Many answer with a flat-out “yes,” some may answer “yes, depending on the circumstance,” and a select few answer “not really” or “not at all.”
Are those individuals who answered “no” to fearing change fearless? Not at all; everyone fears something. However, change not being one of their fears is most likely a result of them being Anticipatory as a business leader and an individual in society today.
Our fear of change stems from primordial survival; when our environment shifts, we feel vulnerable to danger, whatever that danger may be. If you identify that you do fear change, understanding where change comes from is a starting point in overcoming it.
Today, the most prominent force of change is digital disruptions. These disruptions have displaced jobs, products, services — nearly anything you can imagine. Anticipatory business leaders, entrepreneurs, and employees alike know this is a Hard Trend future certainty that will happen; advancements in digital technology will continue to accelerate at an exponential rate.
In the early eighties, I identified what I refer to as the Three Digital Accelerators. These include processing/computing power, bandwidth, and storage driving change in every facet of the world, all of which no one is immune to.
Because digital disruption impacts every single industry in one way or another, those who fear change now really fear change, working tirelessly to protect and defend their status quo. Daily, they may reassure themselves that what has worked will continue to work.
This was the case for the travel and lodging industries. Not long ago, if you planned a family vacation, you stayed in a hotel. The only other option was to stay with a family member or friend, assuming they had adequate space to house you and your family or that they lived in your destination.
Seemingly no one considered connecting with complete strangers via a mobile device when family members or friends weren’t an option, permanently changing the lodging industry. However, Anticipatory Leaders did!
Airbnb burst onto the scene, allowing individuals to rent rooms in houses for much less than a hotel room. Suddenly, everyone could “stay with a friend” anywhere they planned to travel and save money on exorbitant resort fees. As a result, hotels began to suffer.
The reality is: “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” is a broken philosophy. What isn’t broken eventually will be by digital disruptions and pretending that the world is not advancing digitally is not the answer.
The fear of change is prompted by uncertainty and discomfort but knowing that digital disruption in and of itself is a Hard Trend that will happen, there is no mystery.
However, I understand that does not eliminate your fears. After all, there’s no way for you to know specifically what will disrupt you, only that you can be disrupted, right?
You can decipher what will disrupt you by using that same Hard Trend Methodology that you’ve used to come this far in the process! Here’s how:
Education — First, accept that education is a never-ending process. We never stop developing and learning throughout our entire lives because things change! If nothing changed, innovation would cease to exist and we would still be in the stone age, or even extinct!
Always educate yourself on what’s changing inside and outside of your industry. Identify new, transformative technologies and familiarize yourself with the nuts and bolts of how they work.
Identify — Second, identify how each of those technologies affects your industry as a whole. Then, narrow them down to one that specifically will impact your business or your department at your organization.
Don’t waste too much energy worrying about how digital disruptions cause you problems; remember, your customers are what make you a business. Focus on how those digital disruptions generate solutions to problems your customers don’t realize they have yet! That is how you become a positive disruptor, rather than be disrupted.
Leverage — Finally, it’s time for you to leverage that digital disruption to your advantage. Digital disruptions are not sentient beings; they cannot and will not put themselves into action. Entrepreneurs and business leaders like yourself do the work!
Too many believe that perhaps Airbnb and Kayak somehow emerged out of thin air. They did not; an entrepreneur identified a problem customers were having and used digital technology to create a solution before anyone else.
You are in the driver’s seat of digital disruption and change! Whether you put it into drive and hit the gas is up to you, but that doesn’t change the fact that every one of us has the opportunity to do so.
Change is the only constant; however, one constant that will never change is the need for the human touch. A human must be the one to leverage disruption; it will never leverage itself. But because of that, there is no reason to fear change.
By implementing the principles of my Anticipatory Leader System, you learn to take charge of your destiny in your industry by way of identifying Hard Trend future certainties that will happen, eliminating unexpected disruptions and evolving with them. In doing so, you use them to your advantage in exponential ways to benefit your customers and humankind.
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.