25/08/2016 - By RC-CMS
Since June, we’ve plunged into almost unprecedented change. The vote to leave the EU has moved the goalposts we’ve been playing with for the past forty years, but even so no-one seems to know where they’ve been moved to. What will our relationship be with Europe and the rest of the world? Or will “Brexit” be prevented by some means?
On top of that, we have a new prime minister and a largely new cabinet, and may or may not soon have a new opposition leader. The new prime minister is the second-ever female holder of the office, which has to be encouraging whether or not you support her policies. Meanwhile, the economy seems to have gone into freefall, and it’s hard to tell how temporary this might be.
Any kind of change can be frightening, whether it’s personal (new home, new job, new relationship) or public. It’s not for nothing that the Chinese saying “May you live in interesting times” is actually a curse.
But we couldn’t exist without change — literally. After all, change is the reason why we’re not still single-celled organisms floating in the sea. And the need to evolve and improve ourselves isn’t just a necessity, it’s also a wonderful opportunity.
Have you ever worked in an organisation where the philosophy was “We’ve always done it this way, so why change?” The problem is “that way” may work well under certain circumstances, but circumstances don’t remain constant.
Nor do opportunities. Handwritten ledger books, for instance, worked excellently for a long time, but the introduction of accounting software, from Excel upwards, quickly turned them into a slow, time-wasting chore.
Change for change’s sake is just as bad, of course, but keeping the tried and trusted method without examining alternatives is a missed opportunity. And, according to evolutionary theory, missing opportunities can be fatal.
Whatever long-term effects the current changes produce, businesses need to adapt to them, and SMEs will do so in a different way from the major multinationals. That concerns us in two ways, as not only is our business an SME, but so are a lot of our clients.
We’re likely to be presented with both problems and opportunities, and while it would clearly be unwise to ignore the problems, the challenge is to look for the opportunities within them.
What will they be? If I knew that, I’d be advising the government, but I’ll be doing my best to see opportunities, not problems, in every change that comes.
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