Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Entrepreneurial Adaptation - How to know when to quit

Sometimes you've got to know when to quit.

I am a product of the self development gurus of the early 80's; Napoleon Hill, Clement Stone, Og Mandino and my personal favourite, Brian Tracy. They taught me to persist, to never give up on my dreams and to be a single minded SOB.

The problem is, I hold onto things longer than I should and persist with structures, relationships and mindsets that simply don't serve me anymore.

Modern gurus like Guy Kawasaki (Rules for Revolutionaries) and Seth Godin (The Dip) tell me I have to know when to fail fast and cut and run on ideas that no longer serve. They say (and I believe) that the pace of change is so fast that an idea that was good last year is not at all viable this year.

It reminds me of the Charles Darwin quote "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change". As my friend Steve Francis, a learning expert says, "Adapt or die!"

Finding the line between 'success tenacity' and 'entrepreneurial adaptation' is delicate. Here are a few ideas on drawing the line:
  • Set strategy contextually and be willing to change it tactically.
  • Measure the things that matter but don't spend all of your time looking in the rear view mirror.
  • Continuously scan the environment for the new ideas that are rocking the world. Use a model such as S.T.E.E.P. to help you do so methodically. Google S.T.E.E.P. and you will see what I mean.
  • Study disruption events and never forget the business you are in. E.g. Are you in the Train Industry or the Transport Industry, Video Store Industry or Entertainment Industry?
  • Continually search to create meaning around the good things and bad that you are faced with. Remember, it's not what happens to you that matters, it's the meaning you place on it that does.
Do these things and you just might succeed in this awesome, wild ride that is the 21st Century.

2012 is fast approaching... it's going to be wild.


P.S. My friend Craig Rispin is a futurist and offers a copy of his book 'How to think like a futurist' to readers of my newsletter this month. Read a copy here.

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