CHANGE#roopakism Roopak Saluja • December 9, 2016
Some Greek guy once said, “Change is the only constant”. I’m not going to be trite and use it. But that’s basically the essence of the next few paragraphs. So if you’re short on time, stop right here. If not, here’s the deal. Things around us have begun to change a lot faster than they used to. I’m generalizing, yes, but I’m not wrong. In fact, it’s not just change, but there’s an unsettlingly unpredictable nature to things that has started to emerge. We’re seeing a lot more occurences of Nassim Taleb’s proverbial Black Swans.
Need I demonstrate? Brexit. Trump (last week, I heard them further clubbed together, in a double-layered portmanteau, as Trexit). Demonetization. Ok Tata Bye Bye Cyrus. I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of. All of the above would’ve been considered unthinkable until they actually happened. Actually, the first two examples were, for all practical purposes, binary choices. So while they weren’t considered probable, they weren’t technically “unthinkable” either. The latter two however, were well and truly unthinkable.
Earlier this week, Hindustan Unilever cut its December ad spend budget by 50% to ₹150 Cr ($22M). Even though Unilever accounts for a large chunk of our business, the move hasn’t hit us and hopefully, that’ll continue to be the case. But someone has definitely gotten burnt. Coping in this environment is going to take a shift. In mental outlook, in business models, in the very structures and foundations of economies and politics. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Flux begets opportunity. And agility is key. In fact, it’s a big fat source of competitive advantage. How cool for us that it’s one of our values.
If you aren’t familiar with the term VUCA, it’s an acronym used to describe the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity of the world around us. While its origins go back a couple of decades to the end of the Cold War, it’s been used a lot more in the past ten years. And rightly so.
Change isn’t going to happen occasionally and in increments. It’s going to happen constantly. If you’re someone who doesn’t like change, you’d better get your head around it if you intend to flourish. Change.