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Radio: Bet on chaos

The Radio industry is a hundred years old – it has functioned almost without change for the entire careers of most of us who work in it. Thus, when faced with lightning-fast change, the tendency is to deny. The tendency is towards paralysis. The tendency is to brush away these changes as a “hiccup,” not a trend. The tendency is to wait out the storm. The tendency is to do what you’ve always done because anything else is scarier than doing nothing at all.

But, my friends, this is a time for change. A time for action. The chaos you’re seeing now is only the iceberg’s tip.

More than a generation ago, In Search of Excellence profiled 43 “excellent” companies and summarized the keys to their success.

Only a few years later, one-third of these companies were in financial trouble, and several of the companies (including DEC, Wang, and Atari) vanished or very nearly did.

Victims of change. Victims of chaos. Victims of themselves.

In Astronomer Carl Sagan’s recent (and excellent) book, The Varieties of Scientific Experience, he touches on this from a very different perspective:

…it is clear from the fossil record that almost every species that has ever existed is extinct; extinction is the rule, survival is the exception. And no species is guaranteed its tenure on this planet.

So what’s the key for the survival of our species? Let’s take a page from Seth Godin:

Build a company that’s so flexible and responsive in the short and long term that you don’t care what happens. As long as there’s a lot of noise and disorganization and change, you’ll win. In today’s world, betting on chaos is the safest bet of all.

Those of us who are waiting out this “hiccup” will be waiting in vain.

How flexible and responsive is your company?

Is there an urgency for flexibility and responsiveness and for the creativity and risk-taking which make both possible?

Or is your company obsessed with the financial results of this quarter, this month, this week? Is your plan not to grow and evolve but to shrink or spin your way to profitability?

The choice is simple, and it’s all up to you.

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