Fiji, The Futurist and a Rather Big Survival Wake Up Call

I went to Fiji a few weeks ago to speak at a big conference. A futurist who did the opening keynote said something brilliant and simple. It shocked me- a startling truth about business today, and a critical key to survival. Here it is.

I wrote a post recently about what David Tudehope , who founded Macquarie Telecom, said to me about the secret to his success:  “It’s the ability to adapt and change that underpins success.”

And futurist Mike Walsh, CEO of innovation research agency Tomorrow, crystalizes this thought quite violently really when he advises us what to do about ‘change’ if our businesses are to survive. Six words. Powerful words. They have shaken me. And are in my mind everyday as we work on STW’s future growth. Here they are:

Think New. Think Big. Think Quick.

Powerful, hey? Think New. Think Big. Think Quick.

Think about your business… Is it obsessed with developing new products and services that your clients need and will buy today and tomorrow? Are these big ideas- game changing ideas in some instances where the nature of what you do evolves to secure a valuable and sustainable future? And are you moving fast enough- is there real urgency and deep intent to drive that change quickly?

At STW, we are genuinely obsessed with ensuring we deliver today (What’s Now), and we have an absolute focus on tomorrow (What’s Next). Our Chief Digital Officer David Trewern, in turn, is obsessed with the idea of every one of our companies, every year, generating at least 10% of their revenues from new services…services that did not exist in their portfolio the year before. Recently he’s been upping that percentage. And he’s right!

The Biggest Barrier To Change

Quite simply, a great last result. “Hey- things are fine. We’re good.” Bullshit. I read recently a comment about the need to digitalise in all industries by Rohand Lund, the new Chief Operating Officer at Seven West Media: “The glory days are the biggest enemy, not digital.” He’s right too. Nothing is more dangerous to survival than a great last result. Makes us lethargic and complacent.

So, What To Do About It?

Think New. Think Big. Think Quick.

Set an hour aside with your colleagues. Think hard about the business you are in and your growth strategy. Are you thinking NEW? Are you thinking BIG? Are you thinking QUICK?  Come out of it with a roadmap, of the changes you need to make. And start that journey. Here’s the fact- change or die. We know it. Do you?

”I just saw the Fijian sunset as I arrived. Beautiful.”

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9 Responses to Fiji, The Futurist and a Rather Big Survival Wake Up Call

  1. Kylie Bryden-Smith October 17, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    So true Chris!
    Change can be very scary, and it is very tempting to, as you say, sit back and indulge in our success and how we got there… particularly if the process has resulted in positive outcomes.
    An hour is not much of a sacrifice to plant the seeds of what could become a feritle crop to be be harvested in the future. A message to us all – embrace the change, it will be the foundation of a successful tomorrrow! Keep up the inspirational writing Chris, I always enjoy reading your blogs. Kylie.

    • Chris Savage October 18, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      Thanks Kylie- wonderful to hear from you! Glad you read Possums. Big hug. Chris

  2. Rosie October 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    How are these 6 words in combination with Think New Think Big Think Quick:

    Let me fly. Take a risk.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the great creative talent around. So many good people with great ideas hobbled by their framework. How do we set ourselves free? How do we support others to do the same?

    • Chris Savage October 18, 2012 at 9:31 am #

      Fair point Rosie

  3. Paul Spon-Smith October 18, 2012 at 2:49 am #

    Hi Chris,
    Amen to thinking new, big and quick. But hey; this is really about risk partnering with creativity and passion. If you can hold hands with someone with all those qualities and blend them with capital, just stand clear and enjoy the view.
    The DNA of an Australian don’t you think!

    • Chris Savage October 18, 2012 at 11:09 am #

      True Paul. Creativity, passion, capital. Now that’s a heady combination! Chris

  4. Tony Spencer-Smith October 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Interesting that Darwin defined the survival of the fittest as not as the survival of the strongest or the most intelligent, but those most able to adapt.

    Change, fuelled by technology, is proceeding at frightening speed. We need to embrace it – but we also need to make sure we don’t throw out the really good to make way for the simply new,

  5. Craig Charnock October 19, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    This is what i need to keep doing. But quicker action. Feeling much more ready now. Action starts soon soon soon (tuesday!!).


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