Staying on Course

The earth’s magnetic fields are in constant fluctuation. Earlier this year, The Independent (a London newspaper) reported that the magnetic north pole is “currently relocating towards Russia at a rate of about 40 miles a year.” According to the article, this speed “has increased by a third in the past decade” and represents a “faster [movement] than at any time in human history.”

The article goes on to talk about some of the ramifications these changes are bringing about. For example, magnetic compass directions are changing by about one degree per year, causing some airports to have to relabel runways to correspond with the new readings.

I mention this because it illustrates an important point for business owners. Like magnetic north, the business world is in a constant state of flux. Communication channels that didn’t exist five years ago (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) are now essential tools for marketing and customer interaction. Smartphones and handheld devices such as the iPad are changing the way people live, work, and shop. Competition for many of us has grown stiffer, and the rules are changing all the time.

Like airports that rely on magnetic compasses to identify their runways, we must keep a constant eye on the changes going on in our industries and in the business world at large. A one-degree change on a compass wheel may seem insignificant and small, but over time and across great distances, its impact can be severe.

Staying the course isn’t always the best way to stay on course, especially when the course keeps shifting.

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