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Should we actually plan for less change this year?

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BIG THINKING

Should we actually plan for less change this year?’

Matt Madden
Managing Partner
Hall & Partners The Modellers

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If you believe most statistics on the topic, about 90% of New Year’s resolutions will fail, and most are abandoned before January even ends.

How big a problem is this?

If you can kick off 2019 with a “life is good!” declaration, it’s probably not a big deal if your resolutions fall by the wayside. But if your new year isn’t starting out so great – and that lack of greatness is something in your control – then keeping your resolution could really change your future.

In business, most of my clients neatly fall into those same two groups. Those who are just looking to make a few adjustments vs. those who really explore the world and their options. Those who spend time validating the past vs. those who constantly seek new understanding and embrace future change.

In your personal life, if things are good, maybe being in that first “adjuster” group is fine. With the pace of business transformation though, I worry about the companies that act like too-comfortable adjusters. The average company’s tenure on the S&P 500 Index is almost half as long today as it was in 1980. Almost 10% of the Fortune 500 turns over every year. Even if things look pretty good today, most brands need to keep their needle firmly pointed towards exploring. Not embracing change is a huge risk.

I believe the advice offered by Bill Gates:


"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."


The thing is, just like most of us personally won’t fulfill our new year’s resolutions, most companies won’t change as much this year as their plans call for. My response to that is: don’t let it get you down. I’ve certainly fallen into the trap of sometimes becoming too passive in business. But we can overcome that – we almost always have the change plans in front of us, we just need to start on them: that single act of stepping to begin a journey. Don’t waste time defending the past. Ask more questions, welcome new ideas and tools. Find more business insight through better uses of modern data and analysis. Don’t hide from unexpected feedback and learnings.

Happy New Year my friends, and good luck.

 

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If you believe most statistics on the topic, about 90% of New Year’s resolutions will fail, and most are abandoned before January even ends.

How big a problem is this?

If you can kick off 2019 with a “life is good!” declaration, it’s probably not a big deal if your resolutions fall by the wayside. But if your new year isn’t starting out so great – and that lack of greatness is something in your control – then keeping your resolution could really change your future.

In business, most of my clients neatly fall into those same two groups. Those who are just looking to make a few adjustments vs. those who really explore the world and their options. Those who spend time validating the past vs. those who constantly seek new understanding and embrace future change.

In your personal life, if things are good, maybe being in that first “adjuster” group is fine. With the pace of business transformation though, I worry about the companies that act like too-comfortable adjusters. The average company’s tenure on the S&P 500 Index is almost half as long today as it was in 1980. Almost 10% of the Fortune 500 turns over every year. Even if things look pretty good today, most brands need to keep their needle firmly pointed towards exploring. Not embracing change is a huge risk.

I believe the advice offered by Bill Gates:


"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."


The thing is, just like most of us personally won’t fulfill our new year’s resolutions, most companies won’t change as much this year as their plans call for. My response to that is: don’t let it get you down. I’ve certainly fallen into the trap of sometimes becoming too passive in business. But we can overcome that – we almost always have the change plans in front of us, we just need to start on them: that single act of stepping to begin a journey. Don’t waste time defending the past. Ask more questions, welcome new ideas and tools. Find more business insight through better uses of modern data and analysis. Don’t hide from unexpected feedback and learnings.

Happy New Year my friends, and good luck.

Matt Madden
Managing Partner
Hall & Partners The Modellers

LinkedIn Twitter Email