Once upon a time, two and a half thousand years ago, somewhere on the coast of Ionia (which is present-day Turkey) in a city called Ephesus, lived a philosopher known as Heraclitus the Obscure.
Great nickname if you’re busy looking at the world in a different kind of way.
He’s credited with being one of the founders of something called Ontology, a branch of metaphysics that looks at the cyclical nature of reality, existence, being, and becoming. He wasn’t a big fan of democracy apparently, but his ideas heavily influenced those who followed, including Plato and Aristotle, and his ideas around ever-present change are still relevant today.
Fast Forward to 2021
Not sure Heraclitus would be happy to see how things have changed. Winter is coming and dark clouds are looming on the horizon. We now suffer stress and restless sleep and wake up with nightmares of pandemics, lockdowns, forced vaccinations, economic collapse, and civil disorder. Seems living in fear is our new normal now.
Truth be told, it doesn’t feel right and it’s difficult to know what or who to believe any more. Be careful saying that out loud though, as you’re more than likely to be vilified as an anti-vax-flat-earth-climate-change-denying-right-wing-extremist. Which is strange really, because as soon as we stop questioning things our fate is to accept everything.
If we accept the current situation for what we’re told it is we’re probably not going to be motivated to do anything about it. Fear and motivation are funny like that.
But we can and we should do something to change the ways we look at it because as Heraclitus said, “the only constant is change”.
Let me throw in a small caveat here. Just because people like me choose not to focus too much on what’s negative, it doesn’t mean I’m ignoring it. Far from it. I’m simply recognising the fact I can choose to engage with something I can’t control or I can choose to focus on something I can. I’m giving my attention to things that are going to move in the right direction. At least for me.
Be Fast, Adapt, and Build a New Model
Renowned architect, systems theorist, designer, and inventor, Buckminster Fuller said, “you never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
How do we focus on things we can control and build new models because change can be a scary place to visit? How we deal with what’s happening is what’s going to make the difference, especially if you’re trying to run a business. McKinsey & Company recently posted an interesting article about the need for speed in a post-COVID-19 era where they suggest “organisational speed is an essential ingredient for outperformance in times of unprecedented change.”
They go on to claim that fast-to-adapt businesses “outperform others by a wide margin on a range of outcomes, including profitability, operational resilience, organizational health, and growth.”
Being fast-to-adapt is easier said than done though.
We have the first-hand experience of that in Bali, where we’ve seen most of our business competitors seemingly fail to adapt.
They’ve acted more like a deer in the headlights, unable to cope with changes because they’ve been reluctant or afraid to revise their strategies and business models.
They’re trying to do the same things they were doing last year. Maybe they’re hoping we’ll get back to the way things were. My apologies for being the party pooper here, but we all know there is no returning to the way things used to be. Right now, if you don’t have a strategy and you’re knee-jerking your way through new regulations, expanding lockdowns, travel restrictions, and waning prospects you’re going to struggle. At best.
McKinsey & Company say that “adding speed is not as easy as stepping on an accelerator,” because if it was, we’d all be doing it and reaping the rewards, right? They suggest there are three key aspects to consider: build faster decision-making mechanisms; improve internal and external communication, and increase the use of technology.
Let’s take a broad look at how you can do that.
Build Faster Decision-making Mechanisms
Why? Because efficient decision-making means you can accomplish more things faster. Simple really, so if you’re not already nurturing an open-door management policy where your team can confidently ask for advice and approval maybe think about how doing so could help minimise the bureaucratic process of meetings and allow you to better delegate.
Improve Internal and External Communication
Why? Because, as McKinsey & Company suggest, improving internal communication would provide greater flexibility and improve productivity. They suggest it “would enhance the quality of decision making, promote the sharing of assets such as data, and prevent work from being duplicated.” While improving external communications would allow you to talk to and, most importantly, listen to your customers in a more timely and authentic way.
Increase the use of technology
Why? Because it’s 2021 and we all use it, that’s why! It makes running a business easier. Efficiency, results, and profits all improve if you bite the bullet and embrace technology. For example, if most of your business is being generated online, consider reallocating marketing budgets away from traditional models and investing in digital alternatives. Your customer engagement and experience improve, as does your team spirit. “Organisations can gain speed and better meet customer needs by embedding technology within their ecosystem,” said McKinsey & Company.
Seven Stones Indonesia
At Seven Stones Indonesia, we believe in the power of a positive mindset. We believe in helping our clients, partners, and communities create a better world by adapting to change and focussing on what matters most to them. We deliver solutions, peace-of-mind, and we help businesses grow, which is why we encourage our partners to use these extraordinary times to determine what can be done more efficiently and to best prepare for the future.
We see where the problems and roadblocks are but we’re also seeing opportunities; opportunities to focus on quality instead of quantity; opportunities to create and develop alternative energy and manage waste; opportunities to improve infrastructure and opportunities to help build stronger, more sustainable communities through improved education and health.
If you or your business shares our vision and you’re looking for innovative ideas and ways to have a long-term positive impact let us know. We’d love to help!
Sources: McKinsey & Company, Complexia, InHabit, Connecting Clients, Bob Proctor, Philosophy for Change
Also Read Is Bali Ready to Adapt and Thrive?