The past decade has been full of change. Marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11 really provided an opportunity to look back and see just how much things have changed… and how much faster they continue to change.
From a business perspective, failure to adapt is deadly. This places tremendous demands on each of us personally as well. Change can be exciting to those of us who are wired to enjoy it… but even then, it is incredibly stretching. That process can be painful enough that we avoid and delay things that need to change.
But with all the “transition” going on, we can find ourselves struggling to maintain a personal sense of identity. Our understanding of our calling — both personally and corporately in business — is vulnerable to being rocked. And if we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves changing things that shouldn’t change.
How can we stay anchored to the things that shouldn’t change while at the same time freely adapting in other areas?
Guy Kawasaki tells a story* that we frequently use when training entrepreneurs & business leaders in the principles of 21st-century marketing.
From the 1830s to 1890s ice harvesting (cutting up frozen ponds and selling the ice) was a huge industry in New England. In 1886, the biggest ice harvest that ever occurred amounted to 25 million tons.
By the 1920s, almost all the ice-harvesting companies were out of business. Ice harvesting had been made obsolete by ice-making plants that could operate in any part of the country during every season. Later, these ice-making plants were themselves made obsolete with the advent of refrigerators in people’s homes
Before I read about it, I’d never even imagined that someone would have at one time made their living cutting up frozen ponds. It’s easy now, though, to imagine why changes in technology (refrigeration) put the ice-harvesting companies out of business.
But what if there had been an ice-harvesting company that understood its real calling? What if they had realized that they existed not to cut up frozen ponds, but to “create & deliver cold?” Had such a business existed, they could have seen the changes coming. They could have constantly been working to discover better ways to get the end product to the buyer. And perhaps they would’ve invested in refrigeration technology.
A business like that might have even lasted until the modern day, had they truly understood their purpose and calling. You see, it’s easy to confuse mechanisms with purpose.
In your life & work… you must be willing to let go of methods that are outdated & outmoded, but you must be unshakable about the calling God has given you. In our own business, we’ve had to do a lot of re-evaluating. In some cases, we’ve had to go back and fix things that we allowed to “change with the times” that were central to our calling. It’s painful to change things back after enduring a painful change to begin with… but I’d rather have egg on my face than miss God’s purpose.
“Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21 AMP
How closely connected are you to your God-given purpose today?Business, Christ, frozen ponds, refrigeration, success, transition