Why Today’s Thought Leaders Are Challenging the Status Quo
While game-changing titan enterprises like Apple, Facebook and Amazon are at war to pioneer the next wave in global tech-evolution, some businesses are still using fax machines to communicate. These aren’t just single-employee offices running out of the dingy basement of some decrepit building in the middle of nowhere – we’re talking about renowned establishments; doctor’s offices, entertainment firms, hospitals, etc.
Now, bear in mind that the fax machine has its uses in our modern day and age, where law firms and government agencies are concerned. For them, it offers the sense of ease and privacy of faxing a confidential legal document both ways – as opposed to scanning, emailing – having the recipient then print, sign, scan and email it back.
But nonetheless, when is the last time that you’ve used such an antiquated piece of technology at a modern business?
I can give you an example:
The other week, I ordered a pizza from a new place that opened up shop a few streets down. I’d never eaten there, but it was close my house and it looked modern from the outside. I like to try new restaurants every few weeks so I don’t get sick of my favourites, and I thought – why not give it a shot?
When they arrived at the door, the delivery man gave me a whimsical shrug at the sight of a debit card, as though it was preposterous to him that I would even propose it as a form of payment. As it turns out, their business is cash-only.
With technology moving at such a fast-pace that I can pay at restaurants by scanning my fingerprint and waving my phone – how long do you think their pizzeria is going to last without updating their technology?
I can guarantee the days of families harboring their life savings under their mattress are far gone, and cash-only businesses are trailing right behind the Dodo bird in terms of modern relevance and sustainability.
Now, it’s clear that these businesses are doing themselves a disservice by staying in the dust larger companies are leaving behind in their move up.
And considering even long-time growth-engineers like Walmart are using the web to expand their business thread into a new digital era, it’s puzzling that many company leaders are content with the status quo they’ve been nestled in for decades. So, the question on the minds of many of today’s business leaders is this: Why?
Why are some executives so reluctant to accept technological change for their companies?
We live in a day and age where we can visualize a fully digitized landscape of information within the next decade. It seems far-fetched that ancient tools like paper documentation for data entry, spreadsheet systems, and fax machines would still hold a strong place in most office settings.
Yet, for some reason they still do. And that’s because of…
Conformity is prevalent within businesses that feel they’ve already struck the winning formula for success. And unfortunately, by sticking to the status quo, these company leaders often become bored and complacent – ultimately leading them to stagnation and maintaining outdated strategies.
If you want examples, look no further than BlackBerry, Polaroid, and Myspace – all once high-and-looming giants of their industries that lost their positioning to competitors that were willing to change and adapt. In a survey of “MORE THAN 1,000 EMPLOYEES […] LESS THAN 10% SAID THEY WORKED IN COMPANIES THAT REGULARLY ENCOURAGE NONCONFORMITY”.
2. Fear of Change
Companies like Toys“R”Us, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017, are now facing the consequences of being slow to take on new technological changes. As Jon Copestake, chief retail and consumer goods analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, points out, Toys“R”Us was reluctant to take on e-commerce when it first started booming and companies like Amazon were quick to leap at the opportunities it offered. That reluctance to change at a time when it was crucial “meant that the retailer was always playing catch up with its online competitors”. But the thing about trying to catch up is that, barring a miracle, you tend to always be one step behind.
When you’re running a successful business, it’s easy to get caught up in your winning streak and that’s the problem a lot of these companies are facing today with their outdated infrastructures. They think that change necessities a high risk factor for their financial standing, and are quick to forget that out-of-the-box thinking and fast-acting were most likely what brought them to success in the first place.
3. Not Being Informed Enough To Make a Change
When you’re dealing with change, especially technology, it’s normal to want all the facts before you make a big decision that can impact your company. At that point, you want to wait and see how your competitors react, how the technology does over time, and slowly gauge its value. These are all commonplace factors to account for.
Nonetheless, the worst mistake you can make as a business leader is to avoid a rising technology altogether. This line of thought always starts with: “Well, my current systems have always worked for me, so why would I care about something new or different?”
While your current systems might have been the backbone of your business, at one time, the landscape for today’s leading companies is vastly different and always in flux. We live in a time when technologies and socio-consumeristic needs are constantly shifting – and it’s vital that you adapt to those needs.
Challenging The Status Quo
“Okay”, you might be saying to the screen right now, “you got me, Mr. Article Writer. What now? How do I embrace technology? Get a website? Upgrade my back-office to the cloud?” Today’s thought leaders are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of technological progression. While eCommerce and the internet itself were once science fiction elements that you’d see in far-fetched television shows like Star Trek, they are now integral to our everyday life. And in truth, you can’t really predict the future of technology – nor the next phase in the evolution of the international business landscape. But there is something you can do.
Your first step towards solidifying your business should be to stay informed. Read as much as possible on current and upcoming strategies for future-proofing your company backbone in the 21st century digital age.
Should you move your business, or at least part of it, into the cloud? Look at what your competitors are doing. And ask yourself: Am I a leader – an innovator, or am I the pizza delivery man that looks puzzled at the sight of a debit card?
Choose what kind of business model you want to invest your future in.
And start your reading here.