Which is Stronger - Outside Pressure to Change? Or your Internal Drive to Transform?

Daniel Burrus
October 12, 2022

Daniel Burrus

One of the World's Leading Technology Forecasters and Business Strategists
Which is Stronger - Outside Pressure to Change? Or your Internal Drive to Transform?

There are two mindsets surrounding the concepts of transformation and change. First, there is fear that comes with transformation and change. The feeling of not having control over something in your personal or professional life can be daunting, because it leaves us feeling helpless. And the second mindset is an apathetic, hands-off one. This is where the concepts of transformation and change seem so insurmountable that we accept them passively.

Neither of these mindsets are warranted, because the reality is transformation and change are two completely separate occurrences. One of these you can control in your professional and personal life, and the other is mitigated by controlling the first. As a result, neither transformation nor change should prompt fear or apathy to well up in your mind.

The Differences Between Transformation and Change

As I have mentioned here and in the past to clients and readers alike, transformation and change are not one and the same.

Simply put: Change tends to happen from the outside in and is a short-term adjustment in a process, practice, industry, or even a product. Transformation happens from the inside out, sending a disruptive ripple throughout an industry. The term "change" itself gets thrown around in many marketing circles, which is largely why it gets confused with the term "transformation."

Let's think of a musical instrument manufacturer as an example. If a drum set company produces different colors for their drum sets to draw in attention from new customers looking for a stylish set of drums to play, this would be a change. The adjustment made is purely aesthetic, in no way impacts the sound or quality of the drums and can easily be outdone by a competitor where both companies are constantly scrambling to outdo the other.

That confusion between transformation and change comes when the marketing company behind branding for this drum set company sends the message to the masses that "Drum Company A has changed the game!" -- as if a new color somehow makes their product something brand-new.

Now, suppose the drum set company decides to manufacture metal instead of wood drums, using a material that is unaffected by temperature swings for the touring drummer that performs outside. This is a transformation in that it revolutionizes their products, potentially changing the industry itself.

So How Do We Maintain Control?

Between transformation and change, have you guessed yet which occurrence can be controlled? Better yet, have you determined how you can control transformation or change?

Both transformation and change create disruptions in the status quo, but which one can be controlled and leveraged to your company's benefit truly comes down to whether the disruption came from the outside in or the inside out. The answer is transformation, as disruption from the inside out is the very definition of control!

As a business leader, transforming your industry puts you in the driver's seat of something that could have very easily disrupted your status quo. The only difference is that you caused the disruption, rather than the disruption forcing you to play catch-up. To gain control over transformation requires an exponential look into Hard Trend future certainties.

Drum Up a Mastery of Hard Trends

Let's return to our drum company example. Suppose they reinvent drum sets and transform the industry by making metal or aluminum drums.

A couple Hard Trend future certainties that may have been observed in this instance could be the reality that at one point or another, temperatures swing and affect all musical instruments, especially when they are played outside. Metal drums eliminate the problem that wood drums will face.

Another Hard Trend involves a sustainability factor. Wood drums require trees, and the more drums that are manufactured for young, up-and-coming musicians means more trees get cut down to make them, potentially affecting the environment. Now this brings in a Soft Trend future possibility that is open to influence. Using aluminum instead of metal to make drums, the company is reducing the number of trees cut down for traditional drum making and can perhaps even utilize recycled metals to make metal drum sets.

Grabbing hold of transformation and making it your own as a business or organization keeps you from being disrupted. If you strive to simply create change, you will always be leading from behind, whereas if your organization creates transformation from the inside out, you are the force of change! You reinvent the way things are done and set a new standard for all involved.

Apply Anticipatory Thinking to Transform Any Industry

Our drum set manufacturing example is just one instance of transforming an industry from the inside out and gaining control over what would otherwise disrupt an organization. This process can and should be applied to whatever industry you are a business leader in!

Using Hard Trend future certainties to create transformative results is part of an Anticipatory Organization and positive disruption. This is not a one-time deal, either: Once you have anticipation on your side, it becomes second nature.

The drum company may transform the percussion industry with metal drums, but what comes next? Perhaps they look to how digital technology can improve and transform the drumming industry itself, partnering with music streaming services that give new drum students a subscription to be able to play along to their favorite songs as they learn. This exponential transformation may solidify their place in the music education industry as well as the musical instrument manufacturing industry.

Building an Anticipatory mindset toward innovation and creating industry transformation keeps you and your team in control of your future.

Daniel Burrus

Want Daniel Burrus for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
The Dynamic Generation: How to Attract and Retain Gen Z Employees
Daniel Burrus
Daniel Burrus
November 30, 2022
Hard Trends have three distinct categories -- demographics, regulation, ...
Take the Fear out of Digital Disruption: Anticipate and Embrace
Daniel Burrus
Daniel Burrus
November 16, 2022
Uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear. To say you have never once felt these emotions ...
5 Characteristics of Next-Level Leadership that may (Pleasantly) Surprise You
Daniel Burrus
Daniel Burrus
November 09, 2022
Many leadership principles have been around since the dawn of ...
The Dynamic Generation: How to Attract and Retain Gen Z Employees
Hard Trends have three distinct categories -- demographics, regulation, and technology -- each of which help you find certainty in an uncertain world. While all are vital, demographics are quickly taking precedence, and one in specific will greatly impact business in the near future. In my recent Opportunity Hour: Conversations with the Masters,...
Read More
Take the Fear out of Digital Disruption: Anticipate and Embrace
Uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear. To say you have never once felt these emotions in either your professional or personal life is a fallacy. This basic human instinct is a primordial survival technique implemented unconsciously in direct response to the unknown. In an individual's personal life, it may come in situations where you take a physical risk,...
Read More
5 Characteristics of Next-Level Leadership that may (Pleasantly) Surprise You
Many leadership principles have been around since the dawn of time, and those principles have served and still do serve us well. However, given the transformational, exponential changes that involve both technology and human culture taking place, there are new principles of leadership moving in that are vital for us to implement. Applying newer ...
Read More
When Surrounded By Exponential Growth, "Wait and See" Can Mean Missing An Opportunity
Patience is a virtue. Throughout much of childhood, our parents and guardians instilled in us to be patient or to wait calmly for our turn at something. Having patience is an important characteristic in everyday life, but as an adult -- especially if you are a business leader or C-suite executive -- too often does the concept of patience become ...
Read More
Beyond the Expected: Real-Life Business Uses for Augmented Reality
The phrase "You have got your head up in the clouds" is no longer an insult in today's world -- having your head in the clouds may be the best way forward in business! Of course, I'm talking about Augmented Reality (AR); a transformative, disruptive digital technology that has been gaining traction for years and looks to be continuing its expone...
Read More
Are you Ready to use this Economic Downturn to Become Recession Proof?
Many across the United States are uneasy about what is in front of us economically in terms of the economic downturn. At the end of 2019, everything was on an upward trajectory that many business leaders and C-suite executives thought they had a perfect handle on. Then, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 thwarted it all. From the moment the world ...
Read More
Which is Stronger - Outside Pressure to Change? Or your Internal Drive to Transform?
There are two mindsets surrounding the concepts of transformation and change. First, there is fear that comes with transformation and change. The feeling of not having control over something in your personal or professional life can be daunting, because it leaves us feeling helpless. And the second mindset is an apathetic, hands-off one. This is...
Read More
Intelligent Technology Simplified: Smarter Machines = Smarter Humans
The ability of machines to communicate--and their increasing intelligence--is an exponentially accelerating trend spanning many industries. This technology trend is not slowing down in any way, and the more it is adopted, the more it will continue to accelerate, transforming our personal, professional, and social lives. Machines communicating wi...
Read More
The "Great Resignation" Started with COVID-19, but Ends with a Future-Facing Culture
Competitive advantage is highly sought after in the professional world. To many, it represents career success, organizational growth, and even that ever-elusive change that CEOs and entrepreneurs look to make in their industries and worldwide. Debuting groundbreaking products or services that have never before existed is what most business leade...
Read More
Beyond Agile: Why It Pays To Be Anticipatory, Not Reactive
I know full well that people are generally averse to change of any kind. Life would just be simpler if everything that is working stayed the same, and these individuals also tend to abide by the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The problem is that "broke" in that phrase too often implies that a current system that is in place at a busin...
Read More