Everyone acknowledges the world is changing, perhaps faster than many want, but it is changing. Change isn’t the issue, it’s a fact. The issue is, How Do We Respond To/Deal With Change?
There are probably five ways of dealing with change.
Instigators! There are the first movers, the innovators. People who imagine new possibilities, creating great new business models. Those creating previously unimaginable products and services. Those not bound by, “This is the way things have always been done.,” but imagine new possibilities, pursuing them with vigor. If you are one of these (be sure you are and not a wannabe), this post is for you.
Fast Followers! These are those who recognize interesting changes and new ideas. They may not have created them, but the extend them, they complement them, they iterate and improve the ideas. They may leverage, “Second mover advantage.” Their “endorsement” helps to legitimize and accelerate the growth of an idea, a product category, new solutions, new models, new solutions. These are the people who probably are driving the refinement, tuning and perfection of the idea. Fast followers are the builders. This post is for you.
Naysayers! Those who can’t see the value of the idea. New ideas, new models, new approaches to solve a problem are seldom perfect, they need refinement and improvement. But there are those who stand on the sidelines declaring it won’t work, critiquing the imperfections, doing nothing to contribute to the refinement of the idea or business model. This article really isn’t for you. Regardless how vocal you might be, you’re on the sidelines and always will be. You won’t put yourself at risk, trying to improve and refine the idea, you will only criticize it. Over time your criticisms will diminish, you will fade away, people won’t remember. This post isn’t for you.
Resistors! These are the people who are afraid to change, they revel in the way things are currently done, they fight it. They may look like naysayers, but they are a little different. They actively promote and support the status quo. They will change their definition of the world to support their own view of it. If business models and practices change, they will defend theirs. They will redefine things to support their own view of the world.
Resistors aren’t dumb, they’re threatened and the only way they can deal with the threat is to redefine things in the way that don’t threaten them.
Everyone resists for a period of time. It is human nature. The critical issue for Instigators and Fast Followers, is to recognize that resistors are threatened. To help them change, understand that threat, find ways of removing it or bridging it. Sometimes their resistance is important., it helps us rethink and improve what we are doing. Most resistors will change, perhaps not enthusiastically, but pragmatically, driven by survival. Many or us fall into this category. Perhaps everyone has some degree of “resistance.” In some areas we may be instigators or fast followers, in others we may be resist.
If we are instigators or fast followers, it’s important for us to understand the resistors and help them change. It’s important for us to learn from them and to refine what we do to engage them and incorporate them into our visions of the new worlds.
Dinosaurs! Some cling to their resistance forever. Their markets may be plummeting, their relevance may be declining, but they have redefined their business and worlds in way that enables them to declare success, even though, slowly, they are becoming extinct. Like the dinosaurs, this may happen over a long time, but it happens.
Oblivious! These are kind of the opposite of naysayers. They are oblivious to what goes on around them. They may be self absorbed or just plain clueless. This post isn’t for you, but you’re probably not reading this anyway.
So where does this leave us?
Instigators, Fast Followers, Resistors–you are critical in designing, driving, and sustaining change and progress. Each role is important, we can’t ignore the others, we have to leverage each other.