Guest blog spot by John Grandizio, CBI Group team member
How many times have you heard the following toast: “May you live in interesting times!“? It has been a toast offered to good friends for hundreds of years. However, never have times been more interesting than right now. Change is around us and upon us every day.
Interesting? Yes. Comfortable? Perhaps not for many! Today the word “interesting” is often equivalent to the word “change.” And some are not comfortable with change.
However, change is all around us; it occurs without warning. We can wake up to find our savings or investments wiped out. Our employer could go belly-up overnight, or almost without notice, a merger could take place and we’re “downsized”. Of course, not all change is bad. It can be wonderfully pleasant as well. A short-term stock investment could skyrocket in value due to a buy-out announcement. Modern medicine could save the life of a loved one. We “could” win the lottery (somebody always does – and it certainly changes their lives)!
Interesting times? Yes. Comfortable times? Only you can decide. That may depend on how adept we are at adapting to change.
How can we cope…even survive…in these interesting times?
I’ve found that the most adaptive people to change are often entrepreneurs. No matter if they are independent business people or corporate executives, they react quickly to change and they maintain a “What’s next?” mentality. They seem to have certain attitudes and behaviors that allow them to roll with the punches and take advantage of changing situations. When change occurs – whether good or bad – they nearly always land on their feet. For them, change truly is interesting.
What are these characteristics that allow entrepreneurs to adapt so well to change?
1. A keen awareness of what’s happening around them. For example, when entrepreneurs sit next to a stranger in an airplane or a waiting room, they usually engage that person in conversation. They are frequent net workers and attend gatherings of all kinds, intermingling friends and business acquaintances. Their curiosity and probing with others can uncover endless opportunities.
2. Ability to think out of the box, while creating and implementing new ways of doing things. Often more interested in the future than in the present or past, particularly if it promises better methods and more positive results.
3. New challenges are always of interest and are investigated deeply. They plan for this and quickly take advantage of changing situations. When a perceived roadblock surfaces they find ways around them always working to be a part of the solution. The process may involve people they know and/or methods they’ve discovered. But always, they enjoy the challenge. And, one thing’s for sure – they rarely give-up.
4. Entrepreneurs also have a tolerance for risk, since adapting to change may involve failure. When things are “stuck” in place, they often will take action – any action – just to get things moving again. If a wrong choice is made, the result can be a disaster much worse that being “stuck.” But that’s the risk they take to hopefully gain reward.
In short, they have an awareness of when change may occur and what its consequences may be.
So, let’s all keep in mind that change is irreversible. We can hate it and try to ignore it. Or, we can do what entrepreneurs do, and stay aware of what’s going on in the world around us, anticipate and plan for change, meet it head-on and figure out how to make it work for us. In short, we can either be victims or we can prosper. The choice is ours. You have the choice to embrace it or fight it, but rest assured change will never stop occurring around us.