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Beware of slackening in creativity

“Capital isn’t so important in business. Experience isn’t so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life.” — Harvey Firestone

sme’s chat with Phillip Chichoni

Businesses that do not embrace change risk dying
Businesses that do not embrace change risk dying

At the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Winter School held in Harare in June, business strategist and corporate leader Never Mhlanga gave a very informative presentation on managing change. The audience burst into laughter when he brought out a red Post Office Savings Bank (Posb) passbook, something which became extinct years ago. Back in the days people used to be proud being seen with a Posb passbook. No-one imagined that this would change and ATMs, together with mobile and internet banking would become the norm, with no need for passbooks or paper records.

The world is constantly changing. Those who do not keep up with change will be left behind. Whole industries have disappeared as new technology and the resulting change replaced old products and services. Think of phone shops. They were all over, in the city centre in residential areas and even in small towns.
Some entrepreneurs were caught unaware by the emergence of mobile phones, which nearly everyone now has at least one hand-set, and lost money as the phone shop business quickly lost market share and eventually disappeared.

At the beginning of his presentation, Mhlanga asked the delegates to move from where they were sitting to a different place. It took a while for everyone to move as grown men and women complained about why they had to move. Mhlanga said that is exactly what most people do when required to change — they complain and resist.

Change is perhaps the most resisted aspect of humanity. Regardless of our place in life, we are taught to fear it, and naturally we slowly acquire a distaste for it. It leaves us in despair. Change marks the times we will forever remember as the most devastating moments of our lives.

However, change is necessary for growth and development. Without change, we will remain in dull places, not knowing what we are missing in different scenarios and setups. Without change, growth is not possible. In order to go where we want to, where we need to, the journey of change is what we really need to get us there.

Any business that slows down in today’s fast-paced environment will bring on disappointment. In fact, businesses should embrace change. Change is important for any organisation because without it, businesses would likely lose their competitive edge and fail to meet the needs of a growing base of loyal customers.

Without change, business leaders will still be dictating correspondence to secretaries, editing their words and sending them back to the drawing board, wasting time for all involved. Change that results from the adoption of new technology is common in most organisations and while it can be disruptive at first, ultimately the change tends to increase productivity and improve service.

The late Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter is largely credited with creating the term “creative destruction”.

Creative destruction is a process through which something new brings about the demise of whatever existed before it. The term is used in a variety of areas, including economics, corporate governance, product development, technology and marketing.

With creative destruction, you change from the old to the new. You develop new products and services to replace the old ones, which you dump. You change the way you do things and adopt better systems and habits.

Creative destruction and related change requires creativity.

Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. The new ideas replace the old. When did you last bring new ideas into your business? Or change your products or services or produce new ones. If you are not creating something, you will be left behind by the changing world, changing technology, changing customers and changing competitors. Take time out with your team and create new things to replace the old. Keep on moving forward and get ahead in order to remain relevant and competitive.

Until next time, keep on accelerating your growth.

Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. His new book Business Survival and Growth Amidst Turbulence is now available. You may contact him by email, chichonip@gmail.com. You can also visit his blog http://chichonip.wordpress.com 

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