Are You Courageous Enough to Abandon the Past?

As a business leader, you might be tempted to keep up with business history and continue doing what you’ve done in the past. Tried-and-true routines are safe and familiar, comfortable and comforting. Reliving glory days is practically a human instinct.

Nevertheless, sticking to the past is a surprisingly dangerous proposition. It becomes dull, for one thing, and tedium can lead to premature career burnout. It also keeps your company from reaching its potential while letting competitors get the better of you.

The Best Kinds of Changes

Business history is littered with companies that failed to innovate or that attempted to innovate only after financial crisis struck; and by then, it was too late. To name two examples, think of Blockbuster and Toys R Us, neither of which prepared adequately for the dominance of internet commerce.

Of course, change just for the sake of change can be as harmful as no change at all. Rather, business leaders should implement improvements that are calculated to make significant impacts.

One secret to designing meaningful, lasting change is to try and imagine which product upgrades, new technologies and extra services would most benefit your customers. When you look at your business from your consumers’ point of view, it’s easier to figure out which advancements would make their lives more convenient. Detailed customer surveys can help, too.

Change Requires Courage, and Courage Demands Change

Impactful changes necessitate courage and improving on the business history. When you propose a new product line, service, revenue stream or market expansion, you’ll meet resistance. Company executives, investors, stockholders and perhaps some customers will tell you that your idea is reckless or doomed, and those may be the nicest criticisms you’ll hear.

You mustn’t be afraid to fail. Yes, novel ideas can go down in flames. But when one succeeds, it can triumph beyond anyone’s expectations. Consider how the iPhone transformed Apple in 2007 and how, during the 1970s, running shoes with waffle soles turned a respectable company called Blue Ribbon Sports into a global powerhouse called Nike.

The most skilled corporate leaders take bold leaps, not timid steps. If you have confidence in your audacious plans, you’ll ultimately earn your staff members’ trust. What’s more, they’ll eagerly anticipate other innovations. A Better Leader, the outstanding online training program for business leaders, describes this type of corporate environment as a “change culture.” It makes for an exciting place to work, one where everyone is ready to trade the well-worn past for a glorious future.

A Better Leader