Nov 06

The art of NOT changing. Being ourselves in a world undergoing a revolution

Saying that the world is changing constantly is like saying that birds have wings. Maybe not everyone realized, though, that we are going through a revolution in several areas of our lives: in the labour market, which needs a much stronger entrepreneurial spirit than in the past, in the business world, where most of the world commerce went online and where behemoth companies were created just a few years ago with unbelievable virtual values, and also in the family, which changed its make up and the roles of its members.
Management gurus at the end of the ‘90s started telling managers, entrepreneurs and companies to be more flexible and change to keep up with the pace of the world. That advice was spot on, since the Western world, up to that point, had grown almost constantly thus creating a general wealth and well-being all over the different countries of this area of the world, by keeping doing the same things. The world was changing, though, and old strategies were starting to fail and becoming ineffective. The paradigm was shifting and we needed a new way of doing business.
Nowadays, though, changing constantly means losing our roots and go with the flow of the latest management fad or another attempt to survive this financial year. It means running after another urgent deadline, thinking about the quarterly results that we have to attain. This approach does not work in the long term and; Fortune 500 companies, nowadays, die young.
In today’s world, professionals, managers, entrepreneurs and organizations face a new challenge: that of NOT changing, despite constant change. Nowadays, mainly thanks to the Internet, consumers demand authenticity, extreme personalization and coherence with their values. Betray me, they are saying, and I will find one of your competitors on the Internet offering me the same product, at a lower price. Immediately.
Keeping our authenticity means going back to the source, and understand what we really want to offer to the market. It means focusing more and more on niches, big ones for multinational companies, smaller ones for SMEs and micro-companies, where the customer becomes our great fan who is not going to replace us even if a competitor offers a 30% discount on the same product. Because, for them, the product is not really the same. Apple is the obvious example of this, but it is absolutely not the only one. From the Italian ice-cream producer Grom, to the restaurant we would never abandon and to which we gladly go back even if it is very far from home and very inconvenient to reach, those who decide NOT to change their core added value, even if it means losing some customers, will thrive in a world where an unhappy customer can share it to the world with a Tweet and a message on Facebook. Shared hundred more times. So, let’s draw a specific line, without worrying too much of not penetrating the “mass market” which is dying anyway. Once 1000 people start talking highly of us, to other 1000 people, we will have created a market that is big enough for us to thrive without resorting to the always-dangerous price war, where, in the end, everyone loses.

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