The rate of change balance
“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”
Although Welch’s statement is simply put, it’s a brilliant message that we too often ignore. There are many examples of this on the public stage.
If you’re an old fighter pilot like a buddy of mine, you appreciate that changes in propulsion and weapons systems (e.g., jet engines and missiles) routinely make old hardware obsolete. The P-51 Mustang was a great fighter, but not against a F-22 Raptor.
If you sell beer like a good friend of mine, you recognize that you need a good menu of craft beers to supplement the Budweiser or Coors.
If you sell books like a favorite client of mine, you may wonder and plan for how to sell your content in the new world order (if you haven’t already turned the corner).
You get the idea. Or do you?
It’s easy to see changes in others’ backyards. However, we get rooted in our current technology, customers, employees, pricing, delivery systems, etc. What made us successful in the past might prevent us from succeeding in the future.
I don’t believe that focusing your company strategy on the competition is good. At best case, you’re a “me too” player, and strategy is about being different. However, if you’re unaware of what’s going on in your environment (e.g., technology, customer wants, regulations, demographics, etc.), you’ll eventually find yourself surrounded by jet engines.
Awareness, of course, is only half the battle. Planning and doing are required as well!