Effectively Overcoming Catastrophic Change Three Ways Leaders Can Prepare
Until the 1700s the political chess-piece-movers in Europe were kings and queens. Since the 1800s, power slowly transitioned to democracies and mostly rule by the people. What caused the change? The French Revolution, an event that many historians view as the most important in the last millennium. The people rose violently against the ruling class, haphazardly creating new ideas and ideals that centered on people rule, which Napoleon exported to almost all of Europe.
That’s how it happened. Most of us would agree that this change from monarchy to democracy has been a positive one. However, for the monarchies, stripped of nearly all their real power, this was a catastrophic and permanent change.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political thinker and politician of the 1800s, wrote in his book The Old Regime and the French Revolution that The European Kings and their ministers “completely failed to realize the way events were shaping, and regarded the French Revolution as one of those passing maladies to which all nations are subject from time to time.” But it proved to be much greater than what they anticipated.
As leaders, can we avoid the fallout of catastrophic change?
As I have recently been reflecting on these events, I am reminded as a leader, that regardless of our field, we all face catastrophic change at times. How can we avoid it? How can we prepare for it, so we can conquer it? How can we survive, or dare to thrive, if it becomes inevitable?
From 2005 to 2008, I used a Palm phone. They were one of the most cutting edge and powerful brands. Then the iPhone arrived on the scene. I refused to change from my beloved Palm. But eventually, I couldn’t deny the significant benefits, and I too changed. I’ve had an iPhone ever since. Palm, as a company, has been tossed away in the trash bin of history as one of the many companies that did not foresee, and could not cope with, catastrophic change.
As leaders, how can we prepare for catastrophic change?
Here are three ways to prepare for these drastic changes that may face us as leaders:
1—To avoid catastrophic change: Anticipate it.
- Where is my industry going in 20 years? Be innovative.
- Listen outwardly. Be involved in the community. Know what is shaping your industry.
- Listen inwardly. Be involved in your organization. Have your ear to the ground.
- Think and reflect.
2—To conquer catastrophic change: Prepare for it.
- Save money.
- Make quick decisions.
- Take bold steps.
3—To survive catastrophic change: Build your life on what is truly lasting.
- Don’t build your life based on what you create. Base it on something indestructible with time.
- Internal values and principles
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