Brilliant Manoeuvre
You must shape the battlefield to create the conditions for your success.

If you’re passive, you get passed. You have to take the offensive in order to (re)gain the initiative and keep it. That is the essence of offense. But too many companies are content with the status quo and stay passive in the face of societal, economic, technical, and scientific change. Take life and health insurance companies. With all the medical and biotech innovations coming on line now and in the foreseeable future, they should be much more active in shaping the environment to their advantage. Instead, they are stuck within the same business model that has prevailed for decades: Wait till a new drug or procedure comes on the market, then determine whether it’s covered or not.

In the last week or so, I’ve read of new procedures and technologies that are enabling the growing of new organs from pluripotent stem cells; recreating tooth tissue and entirely new teeth from same; portable diagnostics in smart phones; and massively detailed images and 3D models of the brain. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Health insurance and life insurance providers should investigate these approaches to determine how to rein in health care and extended living costs. This could mean actively substituting higher performance procedures for lower efficiency and effectiveness ones. It could also mean taking an active role, with clients, in managing in their health and longevity. We don’t know the full extent of these changes and their effects, but they will no doubt lead to entirely new business models in insurance and health care, not to mention completely new businesses that don’t exist right now. What are you doing right now to shape this brave new world to your advantage, so you’re not stuck like a deer in the headlights?

You can’t just focus on what is in front of you at the present time. You must also watch the bigger picture in the future, assessing nascent and potential threats and opportunities as well as current ones.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

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