Years ago, I went to lunch with an executive from Kodak. Because for a long time, Kodak has been in the middle of one of the most significant corporate transitions in history (the change from the film age to the digital age), I asked him about “change”, and what his advice would be for companies going through such a significant transition.
His first response was “It’s never too early to begin.” In any change process, you can’t underestimate the need to see it coming, and get your employees onboard with the transition. The sooner you get started, the more time you have to respond, react, and win.
He also mentioned the importance of tossing out the old model, and being totally open to completely re-thinking the business. For instance, with film cameras, the film was always a product people needed to buy again and again. But with a digital camera, the images are recorded on a permanent digital format, and there’s no film to sell over and over – which is why so many digital camera-makers have dropped out of the business. So that’s why Kodak has (painfully I’m sure) completely re-thought the model of how film works.
Good suggestions from a legendary company on the front lines of change.