When was the last time you gave any serious thought to your future, and about what you would like to create as a future? Can you say with confidence that you are consciously creating your future?
In the 21st century, the boundaries of business are not precisely defined, and the rules of the game are vague, ambiguous, and often fleeting. Businesses large and small are finding that they need to be innovative just to keep their core businesses relevant.
Failing to innovate & adapt
Many companies worldwide have slipped out of contention as their business models fail to keep up in these turbulent times. Past success, particularly big success, make them think that they have the right answer. They just keep doing things that have been successful in the past. They are lacking awareness or strategy to consider other possibilities, and lose their position when the market shifts from beneath them. Which means that as a businesswoman, you have to be flexible, aware and innovative to stay successful. In other words, you endanger future success by choosing to operate based on your past success.
New and different possibilities in business always come from changes that are taking place right here and right now. If past success blinds you, you won’t perceive relevant changes until it’s too late. This is what happens to many businesswomen. Because of their points of view, they are unable to perceive or receive the infinite possibilities that are available.
The pace of change and advancement is now so quick that entire professions, industries and occupations are changing faster than ever before. Everything is transient! The speed, complexity, and unpredictable nature of change in the global business environment can leave people baffled and overwhelmed. These changes are massive, sudden, rapid, and full of contradictory signals. One of the best predictors of an organisation’s health is how well business executives adapt and respond to changes. Dealing with these changes requires nimbleness, agility, flexibility, the willingness to look at all possibilities and ability to respond in real time to shifting demand. Are you up for the challenges?
This current environment has been a devastating experience for businesswomen who have been slow to distinguish and take care of the elemental changes in economic and societal demands. At the same time, there have been abundant opportunities for businesses to prosper and thrive. These new times have brought with them an array of opportunities and different possibilities. The changes that are taking place globally are unprecedented in their scope. They are generating unlimited opportunities and unusual threats. If you can perceive these changes as strategic advantages and opportunities, you will be more likely to recognise a new possibility.
To seize these new opportunities and possibilities, you must be willing to challenge traditional perceptions. You must banish old paradigms and stop assuming you live in a world of scarcity and threat, which is the survivalist mentality of contextual reality.
Give up the question, How can I fix this? and ask instead, What can I do differently that would generate different possibilities?
Businesswomen that subscribe to conventional business paradigms often engage in activities each day that, at a deep level, do not feel expansive or generative to them, but have become an accepted part of their everyday business practices and procedures. There is no real choice there. Please stop making the past more important than the present, or the possibility of the future an impossibility. In this tumultuous business environment, doing business-as-usual is a formula for business derailment and financial meltdown. You cannot perceive different possibilities and move forward by playing it safe and sticking to any one strategy or a fixed point of view.
Creating a future is about creating future potential possibilities. How do you take the first steps in your business? You must be willing to let go of all the timeworn conventional business models that keep your business from being remarkable. Innovation cannot be created unless you are open to change. Maintaining normal business structures and practices obligate you to stay within your comfort zone and prevent you from going beyond the bounds of what is deemed normal and customary by your sector or industry. You have no choice but to yield to the level of average, unremarkable, mediocre, and run-of-the-mill.
To prosper and thrive in the decade ahead you have to think differently about reinvigorating your business. Innovation is vital for any business that desires to get ahead. You can experience great success and expand your business when you find innovative solutions to common problems. Often, it can mean just acting on an idea you have already recognised, or adapting existing products or solutions for other markets or industries.
Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean invention
To create space to do this, you first have to be aware of the business orthodoxies and management dogmas that are based on the timeworn conventional business models. You have to cultivate the ability to sit above what’s going on and be willing to perceive all the things that require your attention. Look for the assumptions in routines, processes, and procedures that determine how management and operations get carried out on a day-to-day basis. Typical processes include strategic planning, financial planning and budgeting, project management, internal communications, human resource processes, performance reviews and assessments. These processes tend to shape an organisation’s culture by reinforcing certain behaviors and not others. It’s not easy to change an organisation’s culture without changing the processes that govern work. Look at how your processes may blind you and your organisation to new possibilities.
The degree to which you function from points of view based on past success is in direct proportion to your inability to innovate. Instead of operating based on what has worked in the past, start generating in the realm of possibility. Give up the question, How can I fix this? and ask instead, What can I do differently that would generate different possibilities? Can you feel the difference in the energy of those two approaches?
When you choose to ask, “What can I do differently that would generate different possibilities?”, you are no longer constrained by previous successes. You are free to generate something different. As long as you are consumed by trying to do the same things better or committed to making what’s not working work, you will keep creating and operating from the same limited set of options.
Every choice you make determines what your future can be. Be aware of what your choices will create. Every moment is a choice between staying with the conventional business paradigm—and stepping into different possibilities. Whenever you make a choice—any choice—recognize what limitations and possibilities are being generated with that choice.
Before you can consciously create your business future, you must challenge anything that is not working in your business and your reality. Look as clearly and honestly as you can at the paradigm you and your teams predominantly utilise to view your business and the world around you.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself, to know the condition of your existing business:
1. Do you still believe that business is about competing, staying alive, winning, losing, and surviving in a world of scarcity and limited possibility?
2. Is it possible that you have a fixed point of view based on past success that prevents you from seeing new and different possibilities?
3. Does your organisation still maintain conventional strategies because you and your team believe your industry’s structural characteristics are inflexible and your business boundaries are defined?
When you spend time sincerely looking at your business with these questions, you will start to have awareness of places where you can generate different possibilities.
Chutisa is a Pragmatic Futurist, author, speaker columnist and globally recognised thought leader in human potential with a focus on assisting businesswomen to link business strategy to future possibilities, trends, innovation and creativity. Chutisa is best-known for her work in Strategic Awareness, Prosperity Consciousness, Conscious Leadership and Leading from the Edge of Possibility. She has devoted her career to inspiring businesswomen to challenge today’s certainties and consciously create the future by cultivating awareness of coming changes, and developing strategies to adapt quickly.
Chutisa draws from her background in Psychotherapy and Ergonomics as well as 25 years of previous executive roles include senior executive at a number of Australia’s largest publicly listed retail corporations (David Jones, Coles Myers – Target and Kmart), and a senior consultant with one of Australia’s most prominent usability and human factors specialist consulting firms. She is trained both as a psychotherapist and conventional behavioral scientist as well as industrial designer and ergonomist. Connect with Chutisa on Twitter, Linked In, or join her on No More Business As Usual and Pragmatic Futurist Blog.