Companies used to live for 60 years on average. Now the average is down to nearer 15. And when you remove some old mega corp’s, actually the figure is closer to five (fact courtesy of Aaron Dignan).
Big companies don’t remain big for very long. And most big companies which exist today will be gone by a not so metaphorical tomorrow. Ideas survive. Principles survive. Tools survive. But the company, nah, thats on its way out. Yours too.
We have a few choices. We can hold on tighter. This is what most companies do.
Or we can adapt. We can kill off the old. We can assume a constant obsolescence (thanks, Martin Yong).
Essentially, we can evolve. Because that’s what’s happening anyway. We’re evolving. Yep, we were monkeys, now we’re not. Nokia did make phones, now not. The world is on the move whether you choose to engage or not.
Given this constantly changing world, how can we shift to wave riding rather than holding on?
Well, it’s a mindset, above all else.
A mindset which accepts, embraces change. We invest a lot of energy and time in ignoring it. The Buddha has been teaching this in business schools for over 2,500 years.
Principles, ideas, beliefs - these transcend companies. They can be anchor, a filter through which we can positively respond to, adapt to, the changing circumstances which we move through and into. Invest in these. Know these. Whether you’re a person, which I trust you are, or thinking on behalf of your company, which is, after all, just a collection of persons. Oh and maybe the odd robot. For now.
Principles, values, beliefs - and I don’t mean corporate film flam, I mean know them. Know what you stand for. Know what the organisation, the group of people stands for. These beliefs, they transcend the company. They can be the source of tomorrows company, venture, project, and the next days and so on and so on. These ideas are more important than the company in which they live, yet we spend little time working them out.
Take the day off today. You have my permission. Take time to know what is important to you.