An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.
As I sat down to write this month's Editor's Note, I reflected upon the events that had a profound effect on many of us in the United States in August. In the span of five days in August, an earthquake and Hurricane Irene affected areas up and down the Mid-Atlantic states. Both were rare occurrences, especially the earthquake.
After 9/11, all companies were tasked with creating a crisis plan so employees would be prepared to stay safe and work remotely in the event of a catastrophic disaster. We've all had fire drills, and we have been told numerous times about what to do if a tornado approaches. But few of us were prepared for an earthquake or for the floods that rendered many homeless after the hurricane.
Those communities hit hard by the storm will certainly have plans in place to address the floods in the future, and I'm sure there were many companies that added earthquake preparedness policies to their crisis plans. In today's world, change is constant and fast-paced. Change is inevitable; it is how we handle change that determines how successful we are in business and life. Many of the 2011 BEST Award winners were able to proactively manage change—its effect on the workplace and the challenges it brought.
Many of the companies recognized with 2011 BEST Awards thrived because they understood the value of their human capital, the importance that learning plays in sustainability, and the significance of a highly engaged workforce. They also developed a skill set and built a group of the right individuals with the right skills to face change, conquer economic challenges, and increase productivity.
Is your company prepared to implement change on short notice? Do you know how to assess changes in your industry and stay ahead of the competition? As we saw with the earthquake and hurricane, we can survive in the moment, but can we thrive in the future when the big quake or the Category 5 hurricane arrives?