Without exception, the world is changing. And I’m talking about not just the world out there, I’m talking about the world that we all live in every day. Technology has allowed some pretty amazing things to be possible: eBooks, print on demand, to name just a few. These changes can also be very destructive and very disconcerting. They can cause us to question what we’re doing. But before you question your product and whether or not it’s relevant any longer, maybe you should question your organization.
Oftentimes we change our whats (what we offer, our product, our service) because we see the world changing, right? And we’ve got to change with it. The problem is, most of our products, if they are good ones, need tweaking, need stylizing and updating, but they probably don’t need changing if they have any value. And if you’ve been able to live off of it so far, it’s a good sign that it does. Of course there are some exceptions like buggy whips and sunshades on railroad cars.
What becomes obsolete more than our what is our how. How we function as a group or organization becomes institutionalized very quickly. The creep toward the hardening of institutional arteries goes on day-by-day. It’s brought on by age, growth, and sometimes even success. So it may not be your products and services that are the problem, but the fact that you can’t just simply deliver the product to people when they need it, where they need it and how they can consume it. Your customer service may suck. You may have a great product but people don’t feel valued and wanted when they engage you and your teams.
When deciding to fix what’s wrong, the leader always understands there’s a human element first, then the product second.