Picture: Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
In the last couple of weeks now, while working from my home office, my eyes have caught regularly this little book – a souvenir from our family’s holiday to Southern England – and I cannot stop thinking about it.
According to Darwin’s studies:
“it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent.
It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
In the end of January 2020, we saw the change coming. First came the weak signals, then the stronger ones, and in February we saw the first strong market reactions to Covid -19.
Very soon it was visible that Covid-19 was not something that was going to pass by in a few months. We are just in the beginning of the crisis. We are not “going back” anymore, but we are entering another world that will be different from the one that we left in March 2020. For most of us this change is a hard thing to accept, and with sorrow we look back at what we had. You will only understand the value of something when you lose it.
Darwin describes that the real struggle for existence comes when the situation changes. Currently, we are not only fighting against a microscopic virus that can destroy our health and the health of our loved ones. We are also in the struggle of keeping our jobs, companies and societies running. The fight for existence has hit harder than ever.
In the Netherlands, where I live, change is often taken as an opportunity, a possibility to get forward, to unite forces and to find new partnerships. While living in the Netherlands, I have learned to embrace this mindset. Lately I’ve however noticed that it has been harder than normally. My mind is clearly more cautious, and busy looking for a way to accept the change. Yesterday I learned that it is normal to feel like riding a rollercoaster of hope and fear in such a crisis situation.
However, the sooner we understand that there is no way to return, we can start forgetting the past and get focused on the right stuff: Adaption. Only by accepting the situation, you can target your energy wisely, look forward, and start making the right decisions to go further. We will not know how, and when this journey will end, but we need to be prepared that it takes us “somewhere no man has gone before”. We need to be ready and we can’t stay hanging in the past. The world is changing now, are you following?
Thanks to my work I am trained to be continuously alert to changes in the business environment. To be curious. To follow early signals, trends and to combine patterns. I talk with different people, read a lot and follow seminars and webinars. With all of this information I help my clients to envisage alternative futures and design alternative strategies for companies whose goal is to grow and to find new ways to win ground for business. With our help they make better decisions and adapt to the new markets and their needs.
Now I understand that the world has changed for us business strategists too. Today following trends, signals and combining patterns is even more important than ever before. We need to understand the environment in which we are going to operate and to prepare for it. We, working with company strategies, need to understand ways in which our clients, consumers and buyers are going act in the future and what their needs will be. What values will be highlighted in the new world, and the ways we could support them.
This journey of change and your adaption should not only be seen as a threat. It can also be an exciting ride to find new opportunities for survival, and finally evolution. The more I think about future challenges, the more creative and optimistic I become.
We are trained to spot unexpected opportunities, to find new partnerships and to help companies to develop new business models. We can help you too if your company needs help adapting the current change.