The successful Rosetta Mission, the landing on Comet 67/P, was a technological accomplishment that certainly deserved the front page headlines it received this week. Most comets are far away, at a seemingly safe distance. However, they have the power to wipe out all life on earth, which is what researchers suspected happened to dinosaurs. It is therefore important to better understand the potential threat of comets. What are the chances of earth being severely impacted, and what can be done to avoid such a disaster?
Why a thread to professional service firms?
Why should professional service firms be afraid of comets? Of course, they will not be hit literally, but there is a lesson to be learned here.
Professional service firms have been immune to changes for a long time, just as earth has not been affected by comets for as long as we can remember. This stability creates a perception of safety, which is further enforced by professional associations—often closed systems with the ability to shield the community from changes occurring outside the profession. Similar to the way in which earth’s atmosphere shields us by burning up most asteroids, meteors and small comets before they hit the earth.
But are professional service firms also immune from the external changes and dangers that are currently coming at them? Does their closed system indeed shield them, or make them more vulnerable?
It is not a matter of whether, but of when a big comet will hit our planet and have a significant impact. Similarly, what changes could significantly impact professions? Social media, big data or the abundant availability of information?
No longer are professions fortresses of knowledge that only a selected few can enter. Information nowadays is available to all.
The services offered by professionals for a long time were considered a work of art, their uniqueness making it difficult to measure performance in absolute terms. However, social media ratings are not that considerate. Even though these assessments are often based on perceptions and partial information, they impact customer behavior.
Changes with a potential comet-like impact are looming on the horizon for most professional service organizations. They are increasingly visible, high-impact threats approaching with high speed. Very few firms have considered how to adapt, and decades of stability have made it difficult for most professional service organizations to be proactive and agile.
ESA did not send the satellite to Comet 67/P to take pretty pictures, but to understand how to land on, and potentially alter the course of a comet heading towards earth onto a more beneficial trajectory.
Your organization can also turn the current threats into opportunities. There is absolutely no need to panic. For example, you may in fact already have the necessary social media experts in-house. Your most junior employees understand the power and potential of social media very well. Together you probably will be able to come up with great ways to turn upcoming challenges into opportunities.
Waiting until change hits is neither rational nor a solution.
Interested in learning how you can consistently scout for, and benefit from opportunities that arise? Please contact us at info”at”organizing4innovation”dot”com or visit www.organizing4innovation.com for more information.