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Importance of managing change

Life is a journey with many stops. Nothing will be constant in this world. Neither the situations nor the complexity. You might come across valleys, mountains to cross or dead ends or even an open road to deal with- you never know.

We grow up facing changes since an early age such as learning to make new friends, the routine of school, figuring out how to deal with the world outside our parents’ home. We constantly face these challenges until we learn to embrace them and they become a part of who we are. We embrace them because we realize their importance in our growth and stability.

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Just as changes in personal life, organizations too go through changes. Those organizations which comply to such changes such as cultural changes, monetary changes, environmental changes, legislative changes, workforce changes and technological changes are the ones which sustain and grow, while others perish.

It’s insane when we look at the figures that 88% of the Fortune 500 firms that were present in 1955 are no more. These organizations either have gone out of business, merged, or still exist but have fallen from being in the list of the top Fortune 500 companies. They have become forgotten companies today- all because they failed to embrace and sustain change.

Polaroid (1937-2001) is one example. Started in 1937, Polaroid is best known for its Polaroid instant film and cameras. Despite its success in the early days, Polaroid was unable to anticipate the effect that new digital technology would have on its business. Falling into the ‘honey trap’ by exploiting only their (past successful) business strategies”,, It neglected the need to explore new markets, innovate and enhance their products.

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The original Polaroid Corporation was declared to be bankrupt in 2001 with its brand and assets sold off.

General Motors (1908-2009) can be another example. Being one of the most important and famous car manufacturers for more than 100 years, and one of the largest companies to ever exist, GM also resulted in one of history’s largest bankruptcies.. Failing to bring in new technology/ ideas and blatantly ignoring competition were key to the company’s downfall.. The business neglected to improve the quality of its products offered, failed to adapt to changes in customer needs and did not invest in innovation. Eventually it had to be given a major bailout package from the US government with its assets sold off and the new shareholders changing its name to General Motors Company.

Other major examples include of companies such as Nokia, Blackberry, Blockbuster and Toys R Us.

It can be safely derived looking at examples of such giant companies in the global market as to how necessary it is for organizations to always be on their toes, be aware of the constantly changing dynamics, global trends, technological advancements and customer needs especially in the 21st century.

Customer needs are constantly evolving: Customers who were before fine with businesses being open just during regular hours now expect businesses to be able to cater to their needs 24/7, be available online and provide them the facility to pay, check out and do everything on their smartphones. It’s also opening up the window for innovative ideas, new products and trends and if companies can match that, they can expect greater returns.

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Change means growth opportunities: Change is important in companies to allow employees to learn new skills, develop new experiences, explore new opportunities and be able to exercise their creativity and talents in ways that’ll ultimately help the organizations. This introduces a flux of creativity, fresh ideas, which works as the pathway for increased productivity, efficiency and innovation for the business.

Challenging the status quo regime: Asking a simple question such as “Why?” can lead to major breakthroughs for a company in terms of creativity and innovation. It’s important to constantly ask yourself Why to make sure you’re in line with the purpose of your business. Elon Musk does what he does not because he only wants to make money. But because he wants to stick by his roots and fulfill his ‘Why’ of building a colony on Mars. Whether it’s selling PayPal to start off SpaceX, using Tesla to create high powered batteries to provide energy for long hours, most often you’ll notice his decisions following his purpose. Steve Jobs is one more example of someone who wanted to break the status quo and bring in innovation and new technology.

In my opinion, it is crucial for organizations in today’s world to be open to the idea of change and see it as an opportunity towards improvement and growth rather than feeling threatened by it.

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