Springtime was always associated with a garden when I was growing up. Even today, garden fresh vegetables are simply divine and one of my favorite meals. Every spring my mouth waters waiting on that first home-grown tomato.
It was in the family garden where I lost the end of my left thumb. It’s attached back now, but it’s not the prettiest thumb you will ever see. Even to this day, when I take pictures, I feel myself slipping that thumb inside of my hand and out of sight. My grandkids routinely ask me, “What happened to your thumb, Pops?” “Does it hurt?” “Let me see your boo-boo!”
We were hooking up the disk to the tractor that fateful afternoon, slowly moving the hydraulic lifts up to align with the arms on the disk. The movement was gradual as I reached in (I know better—especially now, ha!) to adjust the swivel on the disk arm when the lifts accelerated and trapped my thumb in between. The change was gradual—until it wasn’t.
We are faced with a similar scenario today in our businesses. We are continuing to operate as if the change around us is incremental, slow and not overly risky. But when that change accelerates, if we haven’t anticipated it, it will smash some, if not all, of our present business model.
Kodak, Blackberry, Blockbuster, Nokia as well as many others have been caught in this accelerated change. Even when they knew things were changing, the lifts were coming up, they did not anticipate it changing how they did business.
That’s the real pressure point for us today as we stay busy blocking and tackling. Plowing the same rows we plowed last spring. The transformation, the disruption seems so gradual, until it grabs our thumb and changes it forever.