How to stay sane in a quickly changing business landscape

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Digital transformation and business evolution need forward progress. How is forward progress measured and over what time period? Are you looking at your watch when others are looking at their calendars.

It can be maddening. Over the years, I’ve woken with the craziest nightmares when it comes to marketing obstructionists, office politics and slowly moving projects.

What’s a marketing obstructionist?
They throw up unnecessary barriers and processes. They slow things down too much. Read more here.

Why do I need a 34-step process to decide what I’ll order for lunch? Eating out I’ll get a burger anyway. At home it’ll be a shake. So much for transformational behavior there! Ha.

But the real problem with not getting change done is that the current situation might be just good enough. If it is, what’s the point of changing or moving faster? Doing fine here. <insert picture of people resting on laurels>

For example, I was talking to an advisors a while back and he said somebody had lost their job and they started their own business and signed up clients in no time.

Now, I don’t know if those projects were enough money to live on, were repeatable or worth much longer term. But I know this: A project even when it’s not repeatable is better than no project.

Some change takes time but there must be ongoing indicators that the necessary change is happening must be there. That includes, as mentioned in my Get Real book:

Implicit and declared buy-in from the top

Some kind of daily implementation and successes

Sharing of what’s working and what was learned

A sense of urgency

Can do attitudes

Arguing like you are right and listening like you are wrong. (More on that here.)

The pace can be too slow for some us in the Now (or whatever) Generation. It’s not about age though by the way. It’s a mindset.

I once actually left a project after meeting with an executive and he knew it was on the wrong track and verbalized it.

A week later I made that decision to focus on another project. His response: “You didn’t give me enough time.”

Of course, at that stage that felt like a lot of time to me, but really wasn’t. The reality of this hit home even it comes to job searches.

When I used to interview for jobs back in the day, I was surprised and annoyed but how long things would take. And some companies have the craziest processes trying to hire that perfect unicorn ?. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t exist.) But the process takes time, even when it’s not a 24-step process.

My article on leaders having to get into the weeds also applies in reverse and across.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of others. What are their motivations, why is something happening and what speed are we moving at?

Back to hiring. I’ve hired some people at what felt like neck breaking speed. Think within a month. With interviews, reference and background checks that’s super fast to a hiring manager. It might not feel fast to the prospect.

So it’s good to put yourself in other people shoes but don’t forget to also keep walking in your own. And sometimes take them off and slow down to relax.

But remember that innovation only happens when there is daily forward progress. It can be minimal but it has to be there.