In the Age of Disruption, Standing Still Is Deadly

Speaker Mike Evans explained to attendees of Destination Southeast that to survive and thrive you must embrace constant change, innovation and improvement

Somewhere out there, right now, someone is planning to reinvent the way your business is done, and leave you and your company in the dust while they're doing it.

That was one of the key messages Mike Evans, managing partner of QuestMark and author of "Achieve With Accountability: Ignite Engagement, Ownership, Perseverance, Alignment and Change" had for attendees of the Sept. 6 keynote at Northstar Meetings Group's Destination Southeast hosted buyer conference.

In his presentation, "Survive and Thrive in the New World of Work: The Age of Disruptive Competition," Evans warns that success can often bring a degree of arrogance as well as complacency that says, "we're doing well, there's no need to change." And that, Evans says, "is when somebody reinvents the way we do business."

Evans, who is represented by Goodman Speakers, says complacency and the status quo are "a significant danger to individuals as well as organizations." He adds, "Whether you're an individual or a small company or a large corporation, there's a real need to consistently improve, innovate, adapt, and embrace change."

Just as Amazon demolished bookstores and Netflix killed off Blockbuster, the agents of change are sweeping through just about every industry and field of endeavor, he says. And this change isn't going to just sweep away companies. White-collar jobs have already been lost to the likes of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and SAP solutions, and more will be lost in coming years. Evans points to surgical robots that are reaching the point where they can do some procedures as well as or even better than human surgeons as an example of how few jobs are really secure anymore.

"The key premise here is no matter where you work, no matter what you do, no matter what company you are with, there are a lot of forces out there that are creating significant change and the seeds of change are going to get more turbulent," Evans says. "Companies that aren't constantly reinventing themselves, organizations that aren't reinventing themselves, individuals that are reinventing themselves, learning more, building new competencies, building those skills, are in jeopardy of being on the outside looking in."

To survive and thrive in what he calls the new world of work requires resolve, perseverance, confidence and creativity, Evans says. Companies with the talent and leadership to show these qualities will be the top performers, maintaining a competitive edge in the midst of chaos that leaves others behind. 

Evans outlines a model for success that is a pyramid with results on top, followed by actions and beliefs, and then by experiences at the base. Actions cause results, beliefs drive actions, and beliefs depend on experiences, he says. Change is hard because people revert to beliefs, so if you want better results you must focus on how people think and act.