The Power of Embracing Points of Inflection
I remember a time nearly thirty years ago… I was living in Barcelona and the economy was struggling after the 1992 Olympics were held in this beautiful city. I had this crazy idea to expand my coaching business right in the middle of the most challenging moment of this particular crisis. My family and friends told me I was surely making a huge mistake. The most frequent feedback I got was, “Why don’t you just look for a real job?”, (especially from my father-in-law who rightfully had the best interests of his daughter in mind!) But yet, I was stubborn and determined, so of course, I proceeded with plans in spite of all the contrary advice.
I learned a real-life lesson back then that I will never forget – namely, the tremendous value of leveraging Inflection Points to take disruptive action. As it turned out, my target market, large companies, had reacted to the economic crisis by systematically cutting all external training and coaching budgets, thereby pausing or ending their relationships with current providers. When the crisis began coming to an end in 1993, the window for new contracts, and new providers, was wide open. My new organization was light, agile, unburdened, and perfectly structured for the new environment. We thrived like never before!
I’d love to tell you that this was all due to my genius insights, my strategic brilliance, my mental superiority… but it was really just stubborn determination… All the same, I learned a lesson and in a great way!
With the enormous life shift we’ve endured over the last 16 months and the deep changes that have come from that, we are now faced with an amazing opportunity to strategically disrupt our markets and grow. You see, when big things change they always present the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we want to go. Even more powerful than that, we now find ourselves in the Convergence of various Inflection Points that can have a tremendous effect on our businesses and lives. Think about it…
- Global Covid lock-down environment – coming to an end.
- The economy – uncertainty, challenges, and opportunities.
- Social level – the way we live and even where we live.
Wow! What an amazing opportunity!!! I mean, some Inflection Points are so big that they can ultimately drive Paradigm Shifts!
We will never go back to how things were, we will go forward to how things will be. Let’s remember what the legendary ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.” The individuals and companies that benefit from that will be the ones that openly reflect on how to leverage the Convergence of Inflection Points that we are now entering.
So, how can you best take advantage of this situation in your own business?
- Explore insights on the effects of the new reality. Chunk down what you want to explore. The questions may sound like this:
- What can we learn and expect for the economy, our market, our customers, our consumers, social changes, habits, new needs, etc.?
- If we were starting our business from the ground up, what would it look like? What would be different from what we currently have?
- What tangent products, services or markets may now be available to us?
- What would our ideal organization look like in this new environment?
- What gaps can we close around all of this?
- Prototype and see what thrives and sticks. Thomas Newman said, “If you fail, fail fast enough so you can regroup and do it better.” The sooner you know what works and what doesn’t, the better off you’ll be.
- Empower your creativity. Nothing changes when we are comfortable. So use these uncomfortable times to recharge your creativity. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”, as Neale Donald Walsch put it. These changing times are the perfect conditions for innovation.
- Proceed forward without having to know all the answers and without fear. None of us have a crystal ball to see into the future, so the only way we can grow ourselves and our business is to move forward, in spite of not knowing what lies on the other side. Thomas Aquinas said, “If the highest aim of the captain were to preserve the ship, he would keep it in port forever.”