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Adapt or Die

At the beginning of every year, I always look back and realize how much I learned over the last year. Often, I’m astounded at what I DIDN’T know a year ago. Ugh!

Sure, I get a little cocky and, every once in a while, think “I’ve got my stuff together” but then, another meeting or another chance to learn from others exposes my blind spot, or ignorance, on a variety of topics. Or, something changes in the industry and I realize that what I used to know/ do doesn’t work any longer.

Things change. FAST!

If you are not actively talking with people, asking questions, reading books, learning, studying, observing, etc. the world will pass you by. Playing catch up is tough.

The difference this year is that every meeting I’ve had in the past few weeks has included a room full of executives that are working to change – FAST!

It is probably not good enough to just improve on what you used to do. More likely, it’s time to make some dramatic changes.

Most are moving faster than they are comfortable with. The direct selling channel, or whatever we may call it in the future, is at a true crossroads. I’ve probably said something similar a few times over the last 30 years but this time it feels REAL. Things must change. Companies must adapt.

My good friend John Fleming has created a great publication on the Gig Economy and how direct selling fits into it. It highlights how the channel, and the companies that adapt to the way the world works today, will be real winners over the coming decades.

If we all look back in a year and wonder why we didn’t move faster, adapt fully and change our ways, there is a chance we won’t be around for the next year. Yes, it is THAT big of a deal.

For example, a few years ago, almost NO conversations were focused on gathering customers first. It was about attracting business builders.

Now, the conversations are about creating a great experience in order to attract and retain more happy customers. It just makes me wonder how we ever got to this point, where focusing on getting customers seems like a revolutionary approach.

We are at the crossroads. REALLY.

Adapt or die.

Change or become a relic.

It may sound harsh, but I believe it to be true and many of my colleagues feel this way as well.

“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

– Winston Churchill

Given what we have seen and experienced in the direct selling channel recently, I think we all want to learn and move forward. It would be a shame if we looked back in a few years and, again, felt we were at a crossroads of this level of importance because we didn’t heed the warning signs and take the steps we should/ could have.


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