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Adapting to Changes in Irresistible Forces: Optimism, Options, and Open-Mindedness

Apr 7, 2008
Seek out the pot of gold at the end of the cold shower. To approach the ideal best practice for adapting to irresistible force changes, the biggest challenge to you and your enterprise is to view irresistible force consequences optimistically (although not over optimistically) and learn to see many ways they can be turned into a delightfully supportive environment for your operation.

More than half of your irresistible force consequences will initially seem to be about as desirable as a cold shower after being outdoors in cold weather all day. But that cold shower does have benefits. It can keep you from wasting water by shortening your shower, reduce your power bill for heating water, make you more alert, and help you stay used to cold conditions for other days when you'll be outside in the cold all day.

A good way to start retraining your outlook is to ask yourself, "What is greatly positive about these new circumstances?" Then each time you come up with an answer, ask the same question again. Most people will have trouble finding answers at first, but with practice you'll come up with quite a few.

The more frequently you answer this question about some circumstance, the more likely you are to hit upon a very valuable opportunity that will help you in both the current and alternative environments, regardless of what comes next.

In practice, an exercise in this area works best if a large number of people in your enterprise consider the question in small groups, using classic brainstorming techniques. In fact, some organizations have found it helpful to split the entire company into small study groups on the same subject. Each group then reports what it learned to the other groups.

Stimulated by the new thinking, the brainstorming subgroups meet again and find even better ideas. Then the results are shared again. This procedure can be repeated, each time getting closer to the ideal practice, until this thinking is no longer productive.

At that point, you can expand the number and types of people involved to include customers, partners, suppliers, distributors, shareholders, those in the communities you serve, and even experts from seemingly unrelated fields. They will help you see, feel, and hear more benefits from the new circumstances, thus providing more attractive opportunities for adapting to them.

The Choice Is Yours

The most innovative enterprises in seeing better options will be the most successful in the environment we are postulating of ever-volatile, and increasingly unpredictable, organizational conditions. This viewpoint has another fundamental advantage: It becomes a way to force the abandonment of your company's current direction before conditions intercede to require that for survival.

When you have many choices to consider, you need first to determine which of the choices or combinations of choices exhibit no-lose or always-win, no-lose characteristics. In doing this, you need to be particularly careful of the overoptimism stall. A good way to evaluate the options is to have someone other than those who generate the ideas do the evaluation.

In fact, the more picky, fault-finding, never-satisfied people you can locate to review your options, the better. Then once the evaluations occur, send the options back to those who came up with them for revisions based on the new issues raised by the picky people.

When you select the options to go with, favor those that look safest on the no-lose grounds over those that look best on the always-win grounds. Companies have a way of being better at finding ways to avoid loss than in finding ways to always succeed. In this way, you can further hedge your bets while you are developing a higher level of skill in locating and implementing the always-win, no-lose choices.

Irresistible force enterprises can only expect to have a few capabilities that serve as primary causes of the firm's effectiveness. Make developing always-win, no-lose options one of those key capabilities.

A Work in Progress

To truly approach the ideal best practice for adapting to irresistible force changes, never consider your work in this area completed. You need to keep an open mind in order to be able to see that the adaptations you've generated are simply the best options you've identified so far.

There are far better ones you haven't yet uncovered or considered. You want to keep finding these better choices continuously, and smoothly substitute them for the ones you are pursuing now by being prepared to shift directions in a heartbeat when something better occurs to you.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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