Change Is Hard

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Bouncing around the trade show/conference circuit, we’ve found it’s hard to avoid running into a discussion or two about the imminent “changes” on the horizon that will shake up the entire industry, whether it’s the retail sector, health care or even the media business. There probably isn’t an industry segment out there that doesn’t have its share of advisers and consultants who address the topic of change on a regular basis at industry get-togethers. In the past, we’ve tended to take these talks with a grain of salt (and sometimes a shot of tequila).

All of the prognostications about paradigm shifts and upheaval seem to facilitate an immune response to the discussions and the dire predictions that typically accompany the presentations.

This was our response to the concept of sustainability and the way corporations would soon embrace it when we initially heard a few so-called experts addressing the topic about a decade ago. Times have changed, of course, and now sustainability is top-of-mind for significant segments of the consumer and business communities.

Perhaps old age is making us wiser, or maybe it’s that the degree of change to things we had come to accept is becoming too hard to overlook right now. From media—where the venerable title Sports Illustrated was sold recently in a deal driven by licensing rights and opportunities rather than editorial content—to health care and even the optical business, there’s been an unusual amount of significant changes that has been hard to miss.

Here’s one change we didn’t see coming: as of July 9, new regulations require pharmaceutical companies to include price information in television advertising. It may seem irrational, but it’s coming nonetheless. Even in optical, we’ve seen some unexpected moves this year that portend bigger changes yet to come.

All of this reminds us of this exchange from Disney’s The Lion King, when Rafiki says to Simba, “Change is good.” And Simba responds, “Yeah, but it’s not easy.”

mtosh@jobson.com