It has been a strange spring to say the least, with temperatures hovering well below seasonal (I don't consider a low of -3 degrees C (26 degrees Fahrenheit) to be remotely close to spring time weather, but that's just me). It would appear that we have completely missed spring somewhere along the way. Most people I have run into are abuzz about the weather, wondering what environmental factors are driving these extremely low seasonal temperatures, yet if we think back to let's say ten years ago, weren't these lower temperatures more the norm this time of year? I mean, it's not as if we have never experienced such a cold spring. Yet it would appear that many have forgotten this, or possibly they have just become spoiled by global warming...
Changes in weather, like changes in business, are cyclical, resurfacing at unusual times and often in a different form, making them appear to be something never before experienced. From a business perspective, consider for example that manufacturing is returning to North America where automation can be introduced to reduce the high cost of labor; and in our high tech world, consumers are showing preference in returning to products and companies that offer a high-touch service.
The reality is that most of the changes we experience either personally or in business have been experienced by someone, somewhere at sometime. Understanding this helps us to place external change into context, allowing for a systematic and proactive approach to managing the change, rather than a reactionary one.
When changes in your external environment are looming, consider the following questions to place the circumstance into context, and to determine the best means to managing the change:
1. Where might this change have occurred in the past? What industry, sector, or geographical region is most likely to have experienced something similar?
2. What parallels can be drawn between this current event and historical events? What are the common attributes that may provide insight into potential solutions?
3. What solutions have been implemented by others to adapt to these changes? How might these solutions be integrated into your industry or business?
There really is little new under the sun. When unanticipated change presents itself, it is no time to panic. Start by identifying where similar circumstances have presented themselves in the past, and determine what lessons you can derive that can be applied to your situation.
© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.