by George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

Everything is changing at such a dizzying pace that it is hard to keep up.  Whether you are an entrepreneur running an existing business or starting a business,  know that the pace of change has accelerated.  Although we have always had to deal with change, its magnitude, speed and depth is unlike anything we have had to fact heretofore.  All indications are this change proposition will continue to accelerate in the years ahead.  Anticipating and adapting to these changes faster than your competitors will help ensure your success.

Are you in a rut?  Are you thinking and operating the way you always have, or are you facing the future with a new vitality and resolve.  As the external environment changes, your thinking and strategies need to change as well.  For many of us that means acquiring new skills.  You need to engage change proactively, making the necessary business changes to maintain competitive advantage.  If you are in the process of developing your start-up business plan, you will need to be aware of the changes taking place within your business specialty.  You will need to anticipate how your customer expectations are changing so you are not caught “flat footed”.

Ram Charan, a noted management consultant and author, has identified seven interrelated learnable skills that separate the performers from non-performers:

  1. Pinpoint external changes and trends quickly and accurately.
  2. Use this information to position your business and to re-position your thinking.  This process has to happen quickly enough to be effective because of the pace of change.  This means aligning your actions with today’s realities.
  3. Quickly and accurately identify the changing needs of your customers and meet these needs better than your competitors.  You need to be quicker and more nimble in recognizing changing customer requirements.
  4. Set goals and laser sharp priorities.  Select the right set of goals, make them achievable, and get everyone involved.  Goals need to be stated clearly, be measureable and communicated effectively and often.
  5. Evaluate your key staff and determine whether they are high achievers, flexible, willing to adapt to new realities, have a positive can-do attitude and are team players.
  6. Develop in yourself and team leaders the ability to be “coaches” rather than “bosses”.  Bosses tell people what to do.  Coaches ask questions and together with their people work on goals, priorities and solutions to problems.
  7. As an entrepreneur you need to possess the following attributes:  integrity, character, ambition, drive, tenacity, “people skills”, communication skills, psychological openness, realism and an insatiable appetite for learning.

Success on a sustained basis in this world of change depends on your cultivating and practicing these seven skills sets.

About the Author:

George Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

Key Topics

7 Essential Skill Sets for Business Success