Here is a story about what can happen when you don’t anticipate change. When you get used to things being easy for everyone. It’s a story you will have heard before but, like all the best tales , is as relevant today as when it was first told:
There was once a lucky little bird who lived on an island. It was one of the most beautiful places on earth. Not only was it beautiful – it was safe. Nobody wanted to eat the bird. Nobody tried to muscle in on the birds turf.
The fruit that the bird collected from the trees was abundant and delicious. After a while the bird stopped collecting the fruit , as left to ripen it fell off the tree on its own. Far more convenient! Why would you go chasing food if you can have it delivered direct to your table?
The bird became bigger. Eventually it couldn’t even be bothered to fly. Why would you? The island is gorgeous, the food goes down a treat, and there is zero competition for nest space. You’d have to be an idiot to screw this life up!
But one day a ship appeared on the horizon. On the ship were men and women from a country far far away. And they brought dogs with them. And cats.
Not a problem , thought the bird, I’ll just fly away – there are plenty of decent islands around here with fruit just as good.
But its wings , left idle for so long , didn’t work anymore. Damn it.
As the bird went along to introduce itself to the dogs and cats – it wished that it had never become reliant on that delicious fruit falling from the trees. Never mind, it thought – guess I’ll have to learn to fly again.
The island was Mauritius. The bird , of course , the Dodo.
Last week an article made me think of this story. It contained a quote that said an entire sector , Social Housing , could become extinct because of alterations that are being made to how it gets paid.
Many of you reading this don’t work in housing so will not understand the changes. So – let me explain in simple terms how this works :
- Quite a few people who live in social housing get benefits for their rent. To make it easy for everyone the benefits are paid – electronically – to the landlord. It’s convenient , frictionless, and the actual customer doesn’t have to worry about any of it. (OK , that sounds like business model paradise to you guys who don’t work in housing. But stick with me….)
- The Government is trying to get the benefit paid direct to the customer. The idea seems to be that people should take responsibility for budgeting and stuff. But some customers aren’t really skilled enough to sort things out for themselves. A load of them don’t even have banks. Plus – customers don’t want the hassle of having to pay rent. So , it would be easier all round to stick with the old system. (OK , stop laughing – I know business doesn’t work like that in YOUR world.)
Why did the article make me think of the Dodo?
Because things were always going to change. History teaches us that. Why are we surprised?
We know that any modern business has to habitually innovate and re-invent itself. If it doesn’t and it gets too comfortable – it will become extinct. And it will deserve to.
Whichever sector you work in you are at risk of:
- Stronger competitors
- Disruptive technology
- Demographic changes in your market
- Changes in the economy
- Changes that alter the way customers access your business
- Or changes in politics and regulations
Your business is under threat. All the time. Get used to it.
There are lots of ships on the horizon. And they all contain disruptions to the way we do things.
We better get those wings working.