Photo Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

How can the tale of Blockbuster, the former king of the video rental industry, help you become an agile leader?

Let me tell you a cautionary tale demonstrating the criticality of a leader’s agile thinking. Most of us remember Blockbuster video, the go-to destination for movies and game rentals. At its peak, Blockbuster owned and sold franchises. They were the #starbucks of video rental.

Today, it doesn’t exist. What went wrong? The company failed to adapt to the changing times and technologies. They were late in adopting online streaming.

If you watched the Blockbuster documentary, you know that Netflix pitched Blockbuster on a streaming model, which they turned down.

Be open to change:

Blockbuster was once the “innovative kid” on the block. When the company launched, it brought new technology and business systems to the video rental market that smaller operations could not compete with. As I often say to my Leadership Leverage Clients, “different is better than new”. Blockbuster entered the market and dominated the industry. However, their refusal to adopt Netflix’s streaming model is a prime example of how not being open to change can lead to disaster. Implementing new technologies and trends is essential for agile leaders, as they must constantly evolve to stay ahead of the competition.

Stay ahead of the curve:

To be an agile leader, you must always be on the lookout for new trends and technologies. You can’t afford to be late to the game, especially as technology is currently moving at lightspeed. What’s popular today could be obsolete tomorrow. Staying ahead of the curve is essential if you want to maintain a competitive edge. But how do we stay current while running our day-to-day operations? Here are a few tips:

Keep an eye on your competitors.

Join professional organizations and attend industry events:

Attend events outside of your industry to learn about new technology and trends.

Many people resist change because it can be uncomfortable. As a leader, ask yourself, how comfortable are you with change? Competitors can become collaborators, networking with peers will keep you abreast of what’s happening in the industry, and looking to other industries can position you as the “disruptor” by bringing new practices to your industry.

Be adaptable:

The key to being an agile leader is being adaptable. You need to be able to quickly adjust your plans and strategies to meet the ever-changing needs of your business. This doesn’t mean that you should constantly be changing direction; instead, it means that you should be open to new ideas and willing to experiment. Try new things, and don’t be afraid to pivot when something isn’t working.

The moral of the story is that leaders must be agile thinkers. Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes. I’m not here to fault Blockbuster’s leadership but to examine how we can learn from their mistakes. Did you enjoy this article? Let’s continue the conversation in person. Join my team and me on August 19 – 21 in Myrtle Beach for The Business To Brand Bootcamp. Click here for more information.