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Speed, Flexibility And Adaptability-Keys To Change

By Terry L. Brock

Changing times call for changing tactics.  You have to adjust and change to remain lightning-fast in your approach.  One of the tried and true sayings of the American Old West was, “There are two kinds of people: The quick and the dead.”  You had to move fast back then to out maneuver the competition or you could literally die.

Fortunately today we don’t have to resort to gun slinging or a lot of target practice to remain alive. Yet, the principle of being fast applies to you and me in our businesses today.  We have to relinquish the old ways that might have worked before but need to be altered for today’s new challenges.

There’s another old saying, “If you keep on doing what you’ve already done, you’ll keep on getting what you already got.”  That was used over and over in the 60’s,  70’s and 80’s by motivational speakers.  Their point was that you have to do something different or you’ll stay the same.

Today that has changed.If you keep doing those activities and deploying the same tactics that got you to where you were for yesterday’s success, you will NOT “keep getting what you’ve already got.”  You will fall further and further behind.  You will no longer be part of the “quick” but find yourself in the “dead business” category.

Just ask Detroit.

So, what is a sincere, success-desiring entrepreneur of 2009 (yes, it is time to think ahead) going to do?

Three key principles can help you take what you’ve got and move it to the next level.  Speed, Flexibility and Adaptability.


This means having the ability to respond rapidly and effectively to market changes.  Your customers want what they want fast.  That sometimes means yesterday.  To achieve that, you have to have the right systems in place.  You have to put systems in place to achieve your goals.  This takes hard work and lots of careful thinking, planning and relentless testing.  However, this speed gives you a decisive competitive advantage.

Make it your goal for you and your team to put systems in place so you can respond quickly — even instantly — to common requests and procedures.  Automation can help here.  Think Cloud Computing vs. desktop software.  Think newer technology. This can help you process customer and prospect requests rapidly and effectively to the satisfaction of prospects and customers.


This means you have to be open to change.  Flexible means you avoid rigidity — both physically and mentally.  Find ways to accomplish essential tasks in a variety of ways.  A good metaphor is physical flexibility.  Any good health care practitioner will vouch for the importance of physical flexibility for health.  Sometimes you have to go through pain to increase flexibility (try deep leg stretches on for size to feel that one!).  Flexibility means life and the ability to handle more tasks and requirements as they come to you.

Flexibility in business means doing the things internally which help you respond to customers’ requests in a variety of practical ways.  Always look for ways to be more open to new ideas, new technologies and options.


Where flexibility relates to the inward preparation for your company, adaptability relates to your outward focus.  How do you adapt to changes — especially painful changes — in the marketplace?  Oh sure, you can do just fine with the market in 1998.  But it is not 1998 anymore!  Things have changed — a lot.  Today we’re heading for uncharted territory.

But this is not new.  Our ancestors had to adapt to new conditions.  They faced perils from nature, disease, constant threats of attacks and more.  Yet, they survived due to their ability to embrace speed, flexibility and adaptability.  We can too, if we embrace these principles and provide increased value to customers.

As I type this, the news continues to be dismal on Wall Street and in business. Many are singing the Woe is me chorus. Successful people acknowledge what is happening (no ostriches, please!) with measured resolve (no Polyanas either, please!).  But they go the next step to prepare for opportunities with speed, flexibility and adaptability. They take effective, smart action to achieve measured, bottom-line results.

That is the essence of true success both in business and in your personal life.__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology.  He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools.  He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at

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