I have one strategy to deal with the new normal today. It is agility. It is the ability to change direction when the facts change.
I don’t rest my laurels on the new tool or software I set up today. I keep it on the witness stand, continually interrogating it for its value and expecting that it has a half-life.
Just because I run my business a certain way today does not mean it will work in five years either.
If the world around us moved slowly and things were stable, I think establishing longevity would be a sane strategy.
However, with the connected economy, we are not totally in control nor can we depend on stability. What has been proving more true than ever is uncertainty and disruption are the norm.
This may be a harder mindset to grasp for those that crave security and predictability. I can understand the desire, but the fact is that we are never going back to such an age of convenience.
So, assuming what you are doing and how you are working today will not last, here are some strategies I advise on with clients:
1. Control Everything, Own Nothing
Your tools today are a liability if you own them and freeze them in time. Don’t download software. Subscribe and use it. When you no longer find relevance, end your subscription.
This idea is captured well in Lisa Gansky’s book, The Mesh, on turning underused resources such as cars and office space into a service. They are resources to be used as needed and available conveniently to help you get to your goals.
There’s no value in owning five year old software. In fact, you look like a dinosaur touting such antiquated applications. Better to let someone keep it up to date with a full development team and glean the value you need to get your work done.
Furthermore, there’s always a new product innovator that you will likely want to switch to when the time is right.
2. Build Mobile
If you are tied to a brick and mortar space, you are not agile. You are stuck to that space. Natural disasters, economic meltdowns and changing competitive landscapes can put the hurt on you with much to lose in the way of hardware and square footage. It can quickly become the proverbial albatross around your neck.
Furthermore, if you want to shift directions, it’s a lot harder than someone that built their business with a mobile mindset.
The question starts with what can be virtualized and how can you meet a need working anywhere, anytime with anyone. It’s usually possible. In some cases it may not be. But not even trying can cost you more down the road when things change.
3. Grow and Know Your Tribe
The one great asset that needs to be portable, accessible and constant is your tribe. These are the people that get you and have done business with you, will do business with you and will refer you.
The relationship you have with your tribe is based on your commitment to bring continual value and lead and their offer of attention.
When things are changing, you can try out new products or services. But the people that love you need to be tuned in and respected with consistency and stability.
Constants and Variables
Just look at the last five years and see what matters versus what has passed in relevance and value in your world. The things that are constant revolve largely around intangibles – your intelligence, connections, talent, etc.
The things that will vary with each passing month are your tools, processes, strategies, systems and even your business model itself.
If you are looking for things that will last and matter, get the two things straight in your mind and don’t mix them up. It will greatly increase your probabilities of staying power as the world changes around you.