The number one reason that the pace of change is slow…

Do you believe the pace of change is slow?

You read that question right: Would you consider the speed at which change occurs in your industry to be “slow?”

  • You’d better.

Because here’s the problem…TODAY is as slow as you’re going to see it for the rest of your career.

My favorite blogger, Bob Lefsetz, quoted Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt in a recent post…and I was intrigued to learn more.  In a presentation in October 2010, Schmidt told an audience at Lake Tahoe that, “There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing. People aren’t ready for the technology revolution that’s going to happen to them.”

In other words, the number one reason that the pace of change is slow…is that change is happening as slowly TODAY as it will for the remainder of our lives.

As my buddy, Randy Pennington, reminds us in his terrific book, “Make Change Work,” the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change.”

Here’s my strong suggestion:  Most organizations and professionals fail to deal with the revolutionary pace of change because they aren’t certain of what and who they are.

They’ve failed to create distinction — in part, because:

  1. they don’t have Clarity about what they stand for — and won’t stand for;
  2. because they aren’t Creative in their approach to serving customers and engaging colleagues;
  3. they don’t Communicate in a compelling narrative;
  4. and, they fail to develop a Customer Experience Focus.

If you don’t have these Cornerstones in place…the increased pace of change may only speed your demise.

Think of that phrase again:  The pace of change TODAY…is as SLOW as it will be for the rest of your life.

You’d better get started NOW to create distinction.

When advancements aren’t accompanied by acceptance…

I was having dinner last night with the CEO of a major company in the automotive industry — I didn’t ask permission to use his name, so I won’t (however, I was VERY honored he brought me in to speak to the best customers of his company, representing hundreds of millions of dollars in sales) — when he said something that really got me thinking.

I asked him if he thought we would see driver-less cars in our lifetime.  His response:

“Oh, you’ll see the technology in just a couple of years.  What we may not see in our lifetime is the consumer acceptance of the technology.”

driverless-car-technology-googleThen, another startling admission from someone else at our table:  ”Which is why it’s so important that Google is involved.”  When I told him I didn’t understand his point, he replied, “People trust technology from Google or Apple a hell of a lot more than they’re trusting technology from, for example, GM right now.”

Let’s back up on that point for just a moment: If you study the financial services industry, you’ll find that banks had a very difficult time getting their customers to use ATMs in the early days.  People just did not trust that they could make a deposit or withdrawal from a machine.  They wanted to talk with a “real person” like they always had.

The potential is there for an airplane to fly itself — but, I wouldn’t board one.  For some reason, the pilot makes me infinitely more secure, especially as a somewhat fearful flyer — even though I read that most crashes are the result of “pilot error” — even to the point that sometimes accidents occur when the human erroneously overrides the technology and causes the tragic event.

The CEO told me that we will soon get to the point of semis being driven by the technology — with a “driver” on board much like a pilot supervising the automated controls.

Part of why this is so fascinating to me is that, to a significant degree, he told me that the technology already exists.  In other words, it’s not a problem with technological advancement — it’s with technological acceptance.

In any highly competitive marketplace, where many organizations attempt to differentiate themselves through increasing their technological advancements and features, this is HIGHLY instructive.  Here are some questions you may wish to consider:

  1. Are your efforts and resources better spent enhancing the TRUST and acceptance that your customers have in the technology you already have, rather than the development of new advancements?
  2. If customers trust someone else outside your industry rather than you (Google vs. GM, for example), why is that the case — and what can you do about it?
  3. An advancement not met with acceptance means little traction (or profitability) for your business. How can you leverage your existing advances better…so that you create distinction?

For example, I pointed out to the CEO that while a “driverless car” might not be an advance that basic consumers (like you and me) are eager to accept, protection against texting, drunk, and inattentive drivers IS.  

Just about everyone thinks they are a safe driver.  Taking decision making away from ME isn’t something that I am seeking.  However, ensuring that some idiot who is paying more attention to his cell phone than his driving doesn’t rear-end my family is something I am more predisposed to support.

It remains to be seen if the automotive industry will take from “Create Distinction” and Cornerstone #3 on how to communicate — however, you can consider these questions…and start positioning your existing advantages for greater acceptance…TODAY!

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