Deceptively Different
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

I know today does not feel different than yesterday. However, it is. The speed of change effects every day of our lives – especially as business leaders.  We just don’t readily see it.  But, that does not mean it isn’t happening. It is most certainly happening and is having a significant impact on our future.

Today looks pretty much the same to me. I got up about the same time, made my usual cup of coffee, preceded through my usual morning routine, drove to work the same way, said “hi” to the same people, and went to my desk at MACNY. Yup, pretty much what I did yesterday.  It sure feels like the world has stayed the same. And this is what gets us in trouble. We think the world we live and work in is the same – but it isn’t!  It changed yesterday and every day before that.

How fast is the world changing? Yesterday, a thousand new businesses started in the U.S. alone — world-wide over 274,000 started! Wow. That is a lot of competition. Between the internet, global supply chains, and various delivery mechanisms, we can pretty much get whatever we want, from wherever we want, delivered right to our doorstep. Millions of new ideas and combinations of old ideas will be created this month alone. New ways of doing business and new ways of gaining talented people will be devised. So, I must ask, is the world changing? Yes, it’s changing so fast that it will make our heads spin as leaders. What does this mean? We do not have time to do the same thing today as we did yesterday.

Leaders today, I call them Present-Future Leaders, must use every day to create the future.  Yes, every day must be a day to create the future. If we develop a rapid change plan, get everyone on our team committed to it, adjust it as we go, and quickly move to the future each day, we can be successful in today’s world. If not, we will inevitably fall behind. This is how the world is today. It’s deceptively different. We must also be different.

How are you using today to create your future? Do you know what you must do to stay competitive? How is your team responding to rapid change? Do they know what the future of the organization looks like? How will you move rapidly to the future? What is getting in your way? What are you doing about it? These are all questions we must ask ourselves as individuals and leaders to help us thrive in today’s deceptively different world. Best of luck on your journey!

For a deeper dive into this topic, see my book Present-Future Leader: How to Thrive in Today’s Economy.