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Hannah Whittaker

February 9, 2012 in Change Management, Innovation

Is It Time For The Leopard To Change Its Spots?

Depending on our experiences, our environment and personalities, change can have a very ‘changeable’ meaning. Some people naturally welcome rapid change, where others feel uncomfortable with it. Change has always been an inevitable part of life, but in the current business environment continual change has become something that is not optional- but necessary for a business to survive.

There are lots of stories around about businesses that have failed, for whatever reasons, to change quickly enough for the now more fluid business environment. Change now means more than just monitoring the trends of your micro and macro environment, or performing regular analyses on the needs and wants of your consumers. It means agility. Interestingly, Groupon, that seemed to have been blessed with the perfect model at the perfect point in time, reported an unexpected loss due to a lack of new customers buying in. Underestimating the importance of customer-facing business development meant that taking their eye off one glass ball caused a crack in their business model.

A related story also caught my eye about Zebras, and the reasons as to why they’re covered in stark stripes that expose them to predators in their contrasting environment. Scientists have pondered on many theories, including the possibility that the appearance of the stripes makes the Zebra unattractive to disease-carrying flies. The point of the story is that whatever the reasons, the Zebra had to change massively to avoid the threat that they sensed was most crucial in their survival. It may have had to change rapidly in other areas to balance this, such as developing a better running speed, or an acknowledgement that it was safer to graze in a pack rather than alone.

Change, good or bad, always must be for the best. Within organisations, people are resistant to badly managed change, not change itself. An important thing to remember in this crazy mixed up world.

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