I wrote about change being constant earlier this year, but had an experience last week that reminded me of the importance of remembering this.

We all know this, especially parents. Me, “don’t do that, you could get hurt.” Kid, “but I didn’t get hurt.” Me, “but you could.”  We all had this conversation a thousand times growing up and, if you are a parent, you are on your way to saying it a thousand times.  I know because this conversation could have happened last week when, with many family members, including my parents, I was skiing (in an aggressive manner, as I have since I was a kid), got hurt and could have been the kid in the conversation instead of the parent with my own children.

Why does this matter? Because things can and do happen, fast, and usually when you do not see it coming.  And not only to kids or related to physical injury.  This applies to business, dealing with others, customers, clients.  The contact at your best client leaves the company or is being promoted to a different position.  Your competition suddenly is closing more sales, with prior customers of yours.  You’re a lawyer and your best client hires in-house counsel.  What do you do?

Panic?  Maybe for a minute.  But you better instead adjust and think fast.  Is it having the contact at your best client introduce you to their replacement?  Is it speaking with your former customer about what has changed and what you or your company can do differently to regain a competitive edge?  Is it inquiring of that good client what work will be kept in-house, what will be sent out and how you can be a part of it?  Who knows other than you have to come up with a new strategy and deal with the change or be left behind.  No action most likely will equal no results.

And remember that change brings opportunity, but you generally have to take actions to find it.