Monday, April 20, 2009

Able to Judge and Adjust

In his blog post today Seth Godin poses The Question that is among the most vital few questions for sustainability planning. Godin asks this:

How would you manage or market differently if you knew that you had to hit the brakes, and hard? Slowing one thing and speeding up something else.

Godin takes a look at a few of the industries where we are seeing first hand that they are not asking and answering this question. Like newspapers:

Prediction: there will be no significant newspapers printed on newsprint in the US by 2012. So, you've got two and a half years before the newspaper industry is going to be doing something else with the news and the ads, or not be there at all. Does that change what you do today if you work in this business?

Newspapers are so busy defending the status quo of their business and its model that they have lost sight of the right question? They don't like the future so they are working hard, pretending that it does not exist, or that they have effective control over it. They are not nimble. They are not wise. They are not courageous.

The American auto industry: same status quo defenders.

The American music industry: same status quo defenders.

The American education industry: same status quo defenders.

Innovation is needed desparately in all of these areas and more in order to sustain their ability to continue to deliver their goods and services to a interested customer base.

Can you anticipate the future, see what its major challenges and opportunities are?

Can you accept that the future is controlled and dictated by the desires of the customer and the protocol of the marketplace, not by the desires of your organization and its people?

Can you stop what is old school and determine and implement what is needed for 21st century relevance?

If not, so sorry. Someone else who is already doing all of these things will scoop up your customers. This will happen in plain sight while you are busy writing a press release that spouts your greatness of yesterday and your dedication to past prevalence.

Like Seth Godin suggests, it is about braking and accelerating down a different path that is relevant to the customers' future needs, wants, desires and the cultures current means of communication and connection.

Be sure that you are asking and acting toward the right question and the right vision of the future in order to be sustainable, relevant, and around.

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