Change before you have to.

—Jack Welch


You change a lightbulb when it burns out. You change buses, trains, and airplanes when the one you’re on won’t take you to your desired destination. Athletic teams change head coaches and players when the team isn’t winning.

Organizations change when . . . ?

If you immediately thought, “when things are broken or not going as well as we want,” congratulations. Your view of change is like that of most people—when things aren’t working.


When I got married, my wife said to me, “Randy, I’ll never ask you to change.”

I thought, “Cool.”

She then went on to say, “I do, however, expect that you will continually adapt.”1

It turns out that my wife had the perfect advice for succeeding in today’s world. When you cease to adapt, you cease to remain relevant. And when you cease to remain relevant, you run the risk of becoming obsolete. And sooner or later, things that are obsolete are tossed aside—figuratively if not literally.


Adapting quickly to change in the environment is essential to staying nimble and relevant. In fact, the most nimble organizations react so quickly that they almost appear to be ahead of the change.

Conversely, viewing change as reactive places you and your team in the position of always catching up with your competitors, customers, and industry. Over time, that ...

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