But They Don’t Know My Business
Charles Darwin is often quoted as saying, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Darwin never said exactly that—it’s a paraphrase of his conclusions. But it makes the point.
Nothing will affect a company’s prospects more than its ability to adapt to the rapid, disruptive change—to Darwinism in the extreme—that is redefining our industry.
Adapting to change begins by building a robust network of business intelligence drawn, as one Epicomm State of the Industry participant says so well, “from the marketplace to the shop floor.” Our network should center around our best clients and prospects, because no voice is more important to our business, and include employees, suppliers, peer groups, trade associations, the business press, and the trade press.
But that isn’t enough, according to Ronald S. Burt, professor at University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an expert on the development of professional networks. In “Neighbor Networks,” chicagobooth.edu/capideas/oct09/2.aspx, Professor Burt emphasizes that networks are most effective when they include people “who think differently from you.”
How many of those people do we have in our networks? How many are from outside our profession, market, or industry? Have we excluded people who are knowledgeable and thought-provoking but just don’t know our business? The experts say we should reconsider. Our networks—and so our ability to make the profound changes in our industry an opportunity rather than a threat—will benefit greatly.