‘It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.’
Charles Darwin

More than 160 years ago a man with a great mind and impressive beard taught us that those who survive and thrive are those who adapt and change to their environment.

But Darwin didn’t really say anything new.

Go back a few centuries, the Chinese already knew that ‘a wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.’

This is why in the past 15 years I have radically reinvented my business three times. Each time with struggle and each time with pain.

But each time with gain.

And each time to shape my business to the changing world.

Here’s what I’ve learned about reinvention and creating a change mindset.

 

Keep your eye on the fall

‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’
Henry Ford

It’s far too easy to focus on everything that’s going well.

Yet meaningful change is not likely to spring from your success stories. It will be found in your stress points.

You need to take a step back and see your business from the outside. When you start questioning the status quo, you’ll learn something new about your potential strengths and opportunities.

 

Start with the dream

‘I have a dream.’
Martin Luther King

Dreams inspire but processes and procedures dull. No-one cares about what you want to change but they will buy into why you want change.

The process of change must come second – first comes the dream. And the dream must come from what your customers need – not what your business needs.

 

Look to the future

‘Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.’
John F. Kennedy

My dreams are inspired by listening to my customers and watching new opportunities as they gradually coalesce.

Successful change is not based on self-awareness – it is created through an understanding of where the world around you is heading.

 

Find advocates and influencers

‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’
Mother Teresa

The best way to execute changes is to get buy-in from the leaders amongst your team.

But don’t just go running to the C-suite – people listen to and follow team members, not just your senior staff.

Figure out who your catalysts and evangelists of change are, and then empower them to inspire others and make your dream a reality.

 

Face the fear

‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgement that something else is more important than fear.’
Nelson Mandela

We fear change because it brings up the sceptre of the unknown.

This is exactly the reason to start with the ‘why’ and kick-off with the dream. A strong vision is how your business can collectively face the fear of the unknown.

Without this, at best, you may cope with change.

With it you can make change your mindset.

 

Constant change

Reinventing a business is often seen as a sign of weakness or failure.

It’s not.

To maintain growth, we must stop tinkering and start reinventing.

And then we must start again.

 ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.’
Winston Churchill

 

Want to dig a little deeper?

Here’s some inspirational places to start.

Harvard Business Review – Reinvent your business before it’s too late

McKinsey: From disrupted to disruptor

Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva (Chief Reinvention Officer) – To hold on. Let go (TED talk)