Those who fail to respond to a changing marketplace – fail. In fact, things happen so fast now, that you need to predict the changes in the market place and act before the changes actually occur or it might be too late.
I think that’s true, to a point. We can also overreact with unintended consequences. We can change so quickly and so often that we lose our core audience, customers, clients, or purpose.
You’ve heard of the Titanic, but have you heard of the Eastland? Their connection is a tragic story of overreaction and unintended consequences.
After the Titanic sank, taking 829 passengers and 694 crew members with her, our government sprang into action. Congress passed new laws to make sure the Titanic disaster would never happen again.
The Eastland was mandated to add more lifeboats, rafts (and cranes to lower them into the water) then the boatmakers had planned.
The additional weight made the boat top heavy. As the passengers began embarking for the journey across Lake Michigan, the boat began listing to one side. The sailors compensated by adding water to the ballast tanks on the other side. Once the boat was packed with passengers it began to list to the other side. The sailors couldn’t fix the problem fast enough. The Eastland capsized while still tied up to the dock in the Chicago river.
Overreaction helped cause the death of 841 passengers and 3 crew members. Wow. More passengers died from the overreaction to the Titanic than actually died on the Titanic.
Yes, it was a good reaction to make sure every ship had enough lifeboats for everyone. But, it was an overreaction to force lifeboats that were too heavy on to the Eastland.
Keeping your eyes on trends and changes in your field is very important. But, be careful of the danger of overreaction as well. That can be just as, or more, dangerous than not changing at all.