Haris Ahmed of Chicago Asks: Do You Adapt to Disruptive Change?

In today’s business landscape, shifts in external environments are taking place at a much faster pace. Where decades ago adapting to these shifts were regarded as merely options to consider; today, it’s more of a do or die situation. For Haris Ahmed of Chicago-based management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting Inc., disruptive change has become the new normal in external and internal environments, and unless you pay attention to it and adapt to the changes as necessary, you could go from being the go-to resource of your customers to the company that no one remembers. In the blink of an eye, you could go from number one to nowhere near top rankings at all.

Disruptive change is anything that threatens to shake the established foundations of your organization; from employee productivity to industry performance, physical equipment, computer-dependent processes, vendor relations, and buying methods. Disruptive change, in a word, can affect all areas of your business, both internally and externally. Keeping up with these can make sure that your business or organization is headed in the right direction..

Alternatively, companies that fail to adapt have laid down their path to failure. In your industry alone, how many companies have you witnessed folding up in recent years because not only did they lack the foresight to predict looming changes in the industry, but worse, they failed to adapt. While there are other factors at play in this kind of scenario the inability of the organization to adapt to these fast-moving disruptive changes is almost always a determining factor.

Timing is another critical factor in keeping up with these changes. Implement a program too soon (before the market is ready) and you could lose a lot of money—money you invested in a new software program, technology, or marketing and advertising. Implement a program too late in the game and you could decrease your existing market by a considerable percentage—or you lose enough momentum that it’s almost impossible to recover.

Perception is fundamental in adapting to disruptive change

When a change in the landscape occurs, it is the responsibility of the leader to disseminate information to the organization; and the message conveyed is dictated by the way the leader perceives the changes. In other words, if the leader sees the change as something that is a threat instead of an opportunity, the organization may respond to this as a threat to be fought or avoided. When everyone is given cause to panic, the general consensus could be to take immediate action. On the other hand, if the change is seen as a possible opportunity, the organization, with the direction of its leader, may opt to wait awhile to see how this particular change will play out.

But even as you play the wait-and-see game, you would have already prepared enough to take the first steps, as a precautionary measure, in the event that it’s the right time to implement these changes.

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