As a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, I work with organizations that need or want to change. I'm an observer, constantly watching for emerging “trends from the trenches,” and I like to share them so that others too can see what's coming.
As I report in my recent article for Forbes.com, one of the biggest trends I'm noticing as I travel around the country is how business leaders are really struggling with today's breakneck pace of change. (You can read the article here.) Rather than embracing change and its possibilities for innovation and growth, they’re fleeing from it. Not good!
The trends are obvious but CEOs don't want to see them
Often, the biggest challenge for people is how to recognize what's happening right in front of them. But for today's CEOs, this is particularly scary because the degree of change is so great—threatening their business models, fundamental beliefs and long-held strategies—that they feel lost, like the proverbial deer in headlights. But for those leaders who are willing to adapt and change with the times, new levels of productivity await them.
5 trends that today's business leaders should pay attention to:
1. Autonomous Vehicles
Like it or not, self-driving vehicles are coming soon, disrupting everything from car dealerships to auto parts suppliers to trucking companies.
2. Sensors And The Internet Of Things
Approximately 20 million sensors will be installed in the next 5 years. Yet repeatedly, manufacturers I speak with, from roofing material installers to industrial floor mat developers, deny their value. The better answer? "Hey, that's a great idea.”
3. Robots Are Coming Soon To A Business Near You
Yes, by 2035, robots are expected to replace 53% of the work force. In some business sectors I am working in, they are already there, slowly replacing current employees. This means that job openings for human employees who can program and manage robots is going to be a big growth sector to watch.
4. Colleges Must Rethink Their Role In The Lives Of Their Students
Independent colleges quickly need to reinvent themselves, or disappear. At a recent consortium of independent colleges and major U.S. companies, I heard over and over again how American industry cannot currently find well-trained employees for the jobs of today. This means that 5 million jobs are going unfilled. If colleges would embrace change rather than staying locked in the past, they could change that number.
5. Women Are Changing The Workforce In Powerful Ways
Today, women comprise 46% of the U.S. workforce, they own 30% of businesses and they represent 34% of the breadwinners. They are also changing how businesses are being run, with far more collaboration and teamwork.
How to tackle change rather than run from it
Since the brain hates to change, you must overcome the pain associated with learning new things and make the undesirable desirable. But be aware that your employees will most probably fight the changes you're trying to bring about. However, once they learn their new script and inhabit their new roles, they'll see things with fresh eyes, embracing the future with energy and optimism.
To learn more about how to boldly embrace change
At Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), we specialize in helping companies and the people who work for them realize that yes, “change is pain,” but they can change and actually do it well. Here are 3 blogs that further elaborate on that idea. Let us know if they inspire you to change!
- Managing Change in Fast-Changing Times
- 5 Ways to Help Your Business Adapt to Changing Times
- Why Change Is So Scary—And Why That Dooms Businesses To Fail
Ready to change?
At SAMC, we're all about helping organizations adapt to change. If you'd like to discuss how we could help your business thrive in these rapidly changing times, please contact us for a free 1-hour consultation. We love talking change and look forward to hearing from you.
From Observation to Innovation,
Andi Simon, Ph.D.
Corporate Anthropologist | President
Simon Associates Management Consultants