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On the Brink with Andi Simon

Jan 5, 2018

I've been out in the field the last couple of weeks listening to a variety of business leaders, from established CEOs to emerging entrepreneurs, all of whom are worried about how to address the massive, disruptive changes coming at them. What they want to know is: in order to avoid being disrupted, should they themselves become disruptors? As a Blue Ocean Strategist®, I take them through a proven process for adapting to these fast-changing times, which I share with you here. 

As I worked with these groups of CEOs, they were all very much “on the brink” of some big ideas. (Remember, that's the title of my book, "On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights.") They are on the brink because they can either stay still or move faster. They can lead rather than follow, and these days, following means being left behind. But as we all know, change is scary. And if you are scared of it, it may doom your business to fail. 

Why do businesses get stuck?

One of the many reasons why businesses, and individuals too, get stuck is because they fear change. Another reason why organizations stagnate is that they often fail to see what's right in front of them. The resistance comes from three forces:

1. Old habits aren't bad, but neither are they right for changing times. As you grow up, your brain creates a mind map that sorts reality into an order and then only sees what conforms to that preconceived order. In essence, what your brain is doing is creating a perception of a reality that may no longer exist, and it's this perception that keeps you from seeing what's coming at you. 

2. Your brain hates to change. I can't say this often enough because when you're learning something new, your prefrontal cortex must work very hard to process unfamiliar ideas. This i9s hard work and often, actually painful. 

3. We're herd animals. We don't like to be out of sync. Whistleblowers aren't loved. This is really important to understand because by and large, people will say, "Of course I'm going to change," and then they go back to their habits. So you have to visualize the change that needs to happen. You have to see it and feel it.  

The times, they are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan told us, and they're changing faster and faster, so it's a good time for you to learn how to make the necessary changes in your organization now, because they're not going back to slow and steady again. So get out there and start challenging your brain to change, adapt and capitalize on the new and the next. Enjoy! And please share your thoughts at

Get the full transcript of this Ask Andi episode here.

In this episode, I discuss:

  • Ways to embrace what's coming at you rather than run from it
  • How to build an innovative culture that doesn't mind risk-taking and even rewards it
  • Understanding what it means to be innovative
  • The importance of hanging out with your customers
  • Spending some time in the field pretending you're an anthropologist
  • Learning how to develop new ideas and turning them into great innovations

Resources mentioned in this episode: