Embrace the Change
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” As 2018 is slipping away and the dawn of 2019 approaches, I look back on the past year and see how – both in my own life and in the world at large – change seems to be accelerating. The pace of change here at IST Management Services is quickening too! Each week brings new initiatives, new lines of business, new hires and new clients. There can’t be growth without change, and without change there is only stagnation. Stagnation leads to decline and inevitably decay and extinction.
One of the keys to success in one’s professional life is the embrace of change. How many corporations can you think of that were once giants in their fields that have gone out of business or are mere shadows of their former selves because they were either unwilling or unable to embrace change? Sears, Kodak, Radio Shack, AOL and Blockbuster are just a few that come to mind. I remember as a young boy when our family would go on road trips we would often stop at Howard Johnson’s for dinner. I can still see their iconic orange roofs with their futuristic steeples and taste the fried clam strips for which they were famous. At its height the chain had over 1,000 locations nationwide. Did you know that the last Howard Johnson’s restaurant closed its doors in Lake George, New York last year?
No business can stay competitive for long if it does not embrace change, but change simply for the sake of change doesn’t work either. For an example of this I don’t have to look any farther than the cell phone that is sitting in its stand next to the laptop I am using. Being a relatively new phone, it does not have an earphone jack. I understand the rationale behind eliminating this feature. Supposedly it allows for a slimmer profile and most people prefer Bluetooth connectivity. I don’t, and apparently a lot of other people don’t either because my cell phone manufacturer offers a dongle that plugs into the phone’s power outlet that allows me to connect my phone to a set of ear buds that have (gasp) wires! I don’t believe eliminating the ear phone jack improved my phone – a viewpoint shared by many others — but all the cell phone manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon because it’s the “latest thing.”
Change management is a business strategy and, as with all business strategies, there must be a clear return on the investment. This, I believe, is an area in which IST excels. Several years ago Hal Blackman began diversifying the company’s business offerings. This allowed for multiple revenue streams and made the organization more resistant to shifts in the marketplace. Recognizing that a substantial portion of our clients are law firms and that law firms are highly resistant to downturns in the economy, Hal began offering services tailored toward their needs. E-discovery, court reporting and legal professional placement are now services that IST offers. One major change here at Corporate that is in its initial stages is the building of our new campus and the relocation of the Corporate offices. Again, Hal saw that our current arrangements could not keep up with our growth and that a new strategy was needed. Our new location is close enough to our current offices so that no one’s commute will be dramatically changed, and has enough space so that we can continue building out as our growth demands new office space.
Sometimes change can be daunting and an uncertain future worrisome. This is when it’s important to embrace change and focus on the rewards and the new opportunities change can bring. Otherwise, we’d all be stopping by Howard Johnson’s to pick up an order of claim strips on our way to Blockbusters to rent a video before ending our evening in an AOL chat room…
National Director of Human Resources