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The ability to handle endless change is a keystone of success for all businesses.

Everyone is affected by change. Every business, every industry, and every individual feels the impact of change. That is why knowing the driving forces of change and learning ways to manage them is crucial if you want your business to prosper.

I would even go a step further than that. Many people don’t like change and some even despise it. Being prompted to do things differently than what they know leaves them feeling unsettled. The trick is to embrace change, welcome it.

Once you let change be your best friend, you will see how easy things become.

Evolution of a butterfly. Caterpillar turning into a beautiful colourful butterfly

The 6 Driving Forces of Change

Before we define approaches to manage change, let’s see what is actually shaping the future. There are six major factors that influence the future. Each factor is important in itself. Together, they determine the future landscape.

1. Increased Longevity

We live in a world of an ageing population, with more and more people getting older every day. Individuals will most likely work past the age of 65 and have multiple careers rather than the traditional once and for all. To best cater to this highly experienced workforce, future-thinking businesses will have to incorporate diversity and flexibility now.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Over the next few years, we will see a major transformation in technology. From smart machines to automation both at work and home, humans will be replaced. New tools and technologies will play an integral role in production, medicine, teaching, and pretty much every other aspect of our lives. Now is the time to ask yourself: Where is our place next to smart machines? What are we humans uniquely good at? Define your unique strength and capitalise on it.

3. Powerful Data

You have probably heard of this famous quote before:

“Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do.
Everything around you is mathematics.”

Albert Einstein

The same applies to data. Every interaction, everything we come in contact with can be turned into data. While every step we take is recorded, we can use this information to design better business models. It provides businesses with the opportunity to create a better product or service and build improved customer experiences. Start getting familiar with data now!

4. The New Way of Communication

Emerging media tools such as video production, virtual reality or animation are already shaping our everyday lives. But this is only the beginning. Evolving and new media tools will continue to shape the way we communicate.

Simultaneously our digital networks and platforms will be integrated more seamlessly, with new media being created every day. The more content is generated and spread, the more skeptical we must look at it to distinguish between fact and fiction.

5. Superstructured Businesses

Over the last few years the work environment has changed dramatically. From social media platforms to new technologies, the way we create and communicate value has shifted. Entrepreneurs and new business owners can now reach a type of scale that previously was only achievable by large companies.

This new form of creating and communicating value brings us to the so-called superstructured business model. Nowadays, individuals come together and collaborate at extreme scales made possible by social connections and shared intelligence. Top-down management is OUT and collaborative leadership is IN.

Young business people working together brainstorming ideas
6. Global Interconnection

In the globally interconnected world we live in, developing countries are starting to take rein. We can see a rapid growth of countries like India or China as they are innovating faster than developed countries.

The growth of developing nations also means growth in population. To produce a product or service that caters to these new consumers, businesses need to put diversity and adaptivity at the core of their business model.

Managing Change

Now you want to ask yourself: How are you going to handle these driving forces of change? Are you going to wait and see, or are you going to turn them into opportunities? There are two major approaches to manage change.

Reactive Approach

If you answered with “wait and see” to the previous question then you are likely to take a reactive approach. Reactive people are more inclined to simply hope that the change will vanish quickly or sort itself out. Often reactive people feel uneasy when confronted with change and as a result like to deny it. With no preparation, these people tend to respond to change rather slowly and are not sure how to handle the risks coming along with it. Even less likely do reactive people see the chance to create opportunities from change.

Proactive Approach

This approach looks at change quite differently. Proactive people intend to prepare for upcoming changes to minimise risks before they happen. Of course you can’t prepare for all changes as some are unpredictable and out of your control, but you can do your very best to respond quickly and efficiently to it.

Going one step further, proactive people look at how change can be turned into opportunities. They can develop the ability of finding innovative ways and solutions to do things better. So embracing change rather than despising it can actually give your business a competitive advantage.

Taking a proactive approach requires you to be attentive and aware. Continuously learn about emerging trends and how they may affect your business. Try and find ways to take advantage of these changes. Maybe you could come up with a product or service that best caters for 65+ year olds? Or you could come up with a solution to help analyse content and its validity?

Marketing Together can help you transform the driving forces of change into opportunities.

Start preparing your business for the future now.

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