Adapt Don’t React

Portrait of smiling young woman standing on stairs

To be able to adapt is to recognize that the only thing we can count on in life is change.

Markets change and the economy changes. Our colleagues change firms, technology evolves and of course, clients can – and do – change their minds.

We often have little to no control over these changes, but we can manage our response to them. And, it’s better to be able to adapt than to be caught in reaction mode.

Here’s the difference: Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines react as “to change in response” or “to act in opposition to a force or influence – usually used with ‘against.’” By contrast, adapt is defined as “to make fit for new use” and implies a modification according to changing circumstances.

Let’s examine some strategies for how successful businesses and firms adapt in shifting circumstances.

  1. Be prepared to welcome failure.Seems like we’ve talked about failing here recently, and as a refresher, there’s a difference in accepting it and appreciating it. In appreciating the concept of failing, you must be willing to test new ideas and techniques, a smart way to meet market fluctuations.
  2. Process matters.Sure, we want to close deals, but getting hyper-focused on winning and losing means we can forget to pay attention to the journey. If we work the right processes, it won’t matter if we are in a buyer’s or seller’s market, for instance: The correct methodology will always ensure success.
  3. Monitor trends. Don’t stay so focused on your day-to-day work that you fail to look ahead and anticipate what’s on the horizon. This means seeking out thought leaders in the industry to find out how they solve problems. It means staying up to date with financial news and following professional and trade publications so you won’t be caught by surprise and can effectively prepare.
  4. Put modification strategies in place before you need them.There are a number of ways you can prepare for changes, regardless of what they might be. Work with your company or firm to ensure you aren’t so wed to one way of doing things, it’s tough to maneuver when need be.
  5. Check your marketing.One of the easiest ways to adapt is to refresh your marketing plan. Check out what your toughest competitors are doing and read up on marketing trends. You want to target the platforms on which your clients are spending the most time, lest you lose relevance.

Finally, don’t forget to check your business plan monthly. Writing a plan once a year and letting it gather dust is no way to be prepared. You might think of it as a ‘living document’ that you adjust throughout the year to reflect deviations in your market, and with fourth quarter fast approaching, this is a good time for an overhaul.

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