Technology is Impacting EVERYTHING!

Can you think of any line of business that is not being affected – for better or for worse – by the rapid advances in technology that are occurring?  But guaranteed:  we ain’t seen nothing yet!

Autonomous vehicles are advancing rapidly.  The first Hyperloop is being built and tested.  Artificial Intelligence (AI), or what Thomas Friedman prefers to label IA for “Intelligent Assist,” is advancing rapidly.

And robots!  Have you seen the Boston Scientific robot that prompted an article entitle, “Why Boston Dynamics’ New Robot Scares the Crap out of Us”?  Amazon may be jumping for joy, but I’ll bet many of the people who work in Amazon’s big fulfillment centers are not!

And soon, the argument that humbled the CEO of Uber may be unnecessary because human drivers won’t be necessary.  But a huge investment in vehicles (something Uber doesn’t have to burden itself with today) will be needed.  And that will also come with a completely new set of business demands – strategic, operational, financial, environmental, and social.   That is unlikely to be an easy transition, but it is one the company will likely have to make as driverless cars change the very nature of how we humans move about.

Just as business models of the past – like the Pony Express – had to give way to new technologies like the locomotive, and to new business models, so too will the business models in place today give way to new models as technologies change the way work gets done. There is no going back, only going forward.  We resist at our own peril.

My business partner, Timothy Gendreau, and I can speak from experience about how technology has changed and continues to change our professional services business.   It has changed how we communicate, how we build relationships and generate leads, and certainly how we do the essential research we do for each client we serve.

Ours is not the only professional services business affected.  Technology advancements are changing everything – from the operational aspects of what companies do, to client expectations for what and how things get done.

A Coping Formula

Here’s the challenge, and a simple coping formula for what each of us must do.

Perceive:  Look outside your personal and professional bubble. Pay attention to significant forces at play, even if they don’t seem immediately relevant to you.  As Brexit and our own election have shown us, things can change on a dime.  Why did we fail to see that these changes were coming?  Quite simply, because we did not perceive the forces that were at play and growing around us – at home and around the world.  These same inflections can and do happen in business.

Anticipate:  Use your imagination.  Consider how significant forces at play could affect you, your business, other organizations you care about, the environment, and our communities.  Is the growing nationalistic fervor that has been spreading around the world only a social and political challenge, or will it also create challenges that could impact your business and your personal wellbeing?  How soon may you need to act, and why?

Evaluate:  When you decide that action may be necessary, identify your options for responding before acting. There is almost never just one way to respond – to external or internal threats.  Only by having carefully considered our options before we act can we make the best choices about how to act.

Act:  Don’t equivocate.  Once you recognize the need for action and once you understand your options for action, choose.  Then act as if your life depends on what you do.  It very well may.  But be prepared to pivot.  Changing technological, business, economic, and political pressures are coming at us from all directions, and that demands flexibility.   Having a vision and clear set of targeted outcomes is critical as is the need to be able to pivot and adjust what needs to be done to reach the vision.

Comments?  We’d love to hear from your.  Write me:  swayo@gendreaugroup.com

 

 

Susan Wayo is a Principal at The Gendreau Group

The Gendreau Group develops growth and revenue strategies that produce real and sustainable revenues and enhance a company’s valuation