Take A Chance On Change
Written By: Troy Tait
At the time of writing this article, my wife and I are about to experience a change in life. This isn’t a big moment or something of great magnitude, and it doesn’t have anything to do with COVID, but it is representative of the small events that happen throughout life that create change. In our particular case, we attended the final high school football game for our kids. We have five children, and our youngest are twins – a boy and a girl. For the last 12 years, we have been attending high school football games to watch our sons play, or our daughters perform at halftime. I even got into the action by becoming the announcer for the games. On a cool fall night in October, we watched for the last time as our youngest took the field for their last high school game.
Not only was this the last time they would participate in these events as high school students, it was also the beginning of a new stage in our lives as parents. It was the first of many “lasts” that will occur over the next few months. At the conclusion of this school year, my wife and I will enter a new season of life – empty nesters.
The interesting thing about change is it comes and goes whether we like it or not. It doesn’t wait around for us to prepare or be ready – it just happens. Sometimes it is very subtle; other times, it is dramatic and impactful. Sometimes it brings great joy and happiness; other times, it can cause great pain and sadness. Change is not easily challenged, and, in some cases, there is nothing we can do to stop it from happening. In every sense, change is guaranteed to happen each and every day. There are times when we can control change or make it happen. The first week of each new year seems to be one of the greatest times when change is actively promoted, but soon the excitement of change fades off as the scale continues to display results we weren’t looking for.
Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 has been a year full of change. In addition to the “normal” changes that we would experience, we had a whole new type of change introduced as we all faced this pandemic. As things slowly get back to normal, it will be interesting to see which of the changes that have impacted our lives over the last several months will stick. There are a few that I can’t wait to see go away and others that I think should become part of our normal life. For example, airlines now board from the back of the plane to the front. Ever since my first flight, I have never been able to figure out why it has been from the front to the back. Talk about an inefficient way to get on. In the couple of times I have been able to fly since the boarding changes, I have been amazed at how quickly everyone is able to get on.
I have also been impressed with how quickly some businesses have been able to adapt. It seems those that were a little more technologically advanced seemed to pivot a little quicker than others. For example, I saw several restaurants that had mobile apps well in advance of COVID. These companies were able to take advantage of online ordering and curbside pick-up in a fairly quick matter of time. Other companies who had previously implemented video conferencing seemed to be a step ahead of companies who did not have that technology in place. As I watched this transpire, I was reminded of a 2015 quote by John Chambers, Executive Chairman of CISCO Systems. He said, “At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next ten years if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.”"The interesting thing about change is it comes and goes whether we like it or not."
When Mr. Chambers made this comment, I’m sure he didn’t think there would be a pandemic halfway through those ten years, but it definitely helped emphasize his point. For many companies, they were already on their way out, and the pandemic simply helped speed up the process. Some are still struggling to stay afloat, and for others, they were able to quickly make the necessary changes to help them adapt. Hopefully, this event has caused all businesses to stop and take a look at how they are doing when it comes to technology, so they don’t become one of the 40%.
Change is inevitable – it is going to happen in every aspect of our lives. From a business perspective, we need to make sure we embrace change and look for opportunities to improve. Ask any business advisor what the most dangerous words are in business, and I bet they will say, “we’ve always done it that way.” In my opinion, it is better to do everything you can to control your own destiny rather than have outside influences take control. I know nothing is guaranteed, but it is best to embrace change and use it to our benefit rather than let it dictate our future.Next Article