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Did you know that most people in this world react to change as it comes at them?
I’m sure this does not necessarily come as a surprise to you, especially if that’s how you respond to changes to your status quo. Changes are uncomfortable already, so why adjust what you are doing when you don’t have to?
Because equally as indisputable as the aforementioned concept of reacting to change that gets thrown at you, whether you are a business leader, business owner, or an employee who does their job and clocks out at the end of the day, changes impact everyone no matter what. And now with quickly accelerating technology disrupting nearly everything about our lives, preserving the status quo of both your career and everyday life is difficult at best.
To answer the question from above, “Why should I change what I am doing if it is working?” it is because you will be disrupted sooner or later. Even if it doesn’t pertain to changes in your career, change in your personal life will shake up your leisure time as well.
While most people try to change alongside something that comes at them in seemingly unpredictable fashion, I want to help you see change before it occurs and discover the simple ways in which you can pre-solve the problems they may cause you before they ever happen.
This is how change traditionally occurs for many of us each day. Something disrupts us, seemingly out of our control, and makes for an obstacle we have to quickly overcome to get “back to good,” so to speak.
A simple way to understand this is your shoe becoming untied while on a jog. You tie your shoes, start your phone timer, and take off running, only to notice your left lace becoming loose with every step. Before long, you have to stop, tying it while trying to regulate your breathing, and then taking off again.
In both professional and personal circumstances, I have found several different ways that change affects us from the outside in. Here is a deeper look into three specific ways this takes place:
New Laws Being Passed: Something we cannot fight, especially in the United States, is the passing of new laws that impact businesses, business processes, or our personal lives. For instance, when new driving laws get passed, you now have to comply with them or face a pricey ticket or more serious trouble.
Competition: Many think this type of outside-in change disrupts companies and small businesses only; however, this is a misguided assumption. Competition impacts everyone, especially if you are an employee. Your department hiring someone to help you with your daily tasks can often prompt you to change the way you work to keep them from replacing you instead.
Emergence of New Technology: In years past, this change was extremely slow, but now this is quickly becoming easily the most disruptive change coming from the outside in that we know of. Innovators introduce new technologies constantly, which is now shaking the status quo of business leaders and individuals in everyday life.
Outside-in changes seem to happen fast, and many business books and lecturers out on speaking circuits push the concept of agility as being the way you as a business leader, entrepreneur, or even as an entry-level employee deal with these disruptions.
Don’t get me wrong; agility is definitely a must in many cases. However, it should be used in conjunction with anticipation. For instance, companies that have traditionally had their office workers report to a physical location were disrupted in extremely unique ways during the coronavirus pandemic, which demanded agility and anticipation be utilized together.
No one saw the pandemic coming in the powerful way it did, meaning everyone had to be agile. And though we really did not know when, we all knew the pandemic would come to a close, allowing us to take the time to anticipate how the working world would change in the future following COVID-19.
Understanding the three ways that change from the outside in commonly takes place as mentioned earlier in this article — new laws, competition, and new technology — already gives you an edge as a business leader, entrepreneur, or generally as an individual in contemporary society. But how exactly?
How you better adjust to change from the outside in is by becoming the force of change, or instead creating change from the inside out. A foundational element to my Anticipatory Leader System is in first knowing where to look for disruptions, such as those aforementioned three areas of outside-in change.
Knowing that new laws, competition, and new technology can and will disrupt you and your status quo allows you to begin your anticipatory journey by looking down the road in those categories and deciphering how each could disrupt your business or life. Once you see how one or even all three will disrupt your business and industry, you pre-solve these problems by planning for the new technology, staying ahead of the competition, and implementing the new technology.
Returning briefly to our example of companies using agility in the wake of the pandemic, anticipatory ones looked to the new laws surrounding the pandemic and how they’d adapt with remote work as needed, considered how their competition may stay profitable in the event supply chain issues continued, and leveraged technological advancements exponentially to improve their new workflow indefinitely.
Change from the outside in is a Hard Trend future certainty in that it will always take place, and a lead-from-behind mentality only puts a bandage on your scraped knees after you fall. That bandage will not cushion the next fall that outside-in change causes you, but creating change from the inside out gives you real, adequate padding to prevent future damages.
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.
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