THIS WEEK I HEARD A REPORT about Dr. Laura Lengnick who was speaking about sustainable agriculture.

Actually, she was explaining why she now uses the word resilient rather than sustainable.

Her point is that sustainable implies a sense of being static, of an ideal world where everything is balanced and unchanging.  Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist.

The word resilient, on the other hand, is built on the sense of adaptability to things which change.  Bringing them back to a state of stability, but not necessarily the same as before.

This caught my attention, of course, because that’s the world of business we live in. Regulations change.  Competitors do unpredictable things.  Customer needs shift.  Employees change.

Your role, as the leader, is to help your business adjust, adapt, and grow – not to stay the same.

I actually ran across a guy a couple of years ago who was in the most stable business I’d seen: He had been producing some materials for airline pilots since the 1950s, and continued to have stable clientele.

That is, until pilots started bringing tablets into the cockpit.  While his information was published as paper.

I was fascinated by his resistance to this trend, though.  Instead of taking his information online and publishing it electronic form, he … shut down his business.  I guess at age 77 that can be a rational choice.

What an amazing example of not building resilience into a business.  The trend was easy to predict, because tablets have been available for a long time and most people could foresee how it would replace the need for paper.

So here’s the question:  Where in your business are you assuming things will be static?  Where have you built inflexibility into your structure, marketing, and relationships?

Don’t go sacrifice your mission, that should be the bedrock.  But there are many ways to accomplish your mission.

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