The December 31, 2012, issue of Newsweek magazine was the last print edition. After years of analysis and planning, Newsweek decided it was time to end an era and move to a purely online format.
In looking at all we learn from Newsweeks history, diversity development is definitely a hot topic. In 1978 when Lynn Povich proposed a cover story on the changing role of men (as opposed to women), she was mocked by her peers. Ultimately, Povichs idea won and the cover story went to print. The cover illustration showed a man in an apron cooking as he gazes down to a little girl clutching her doll. Reflecting on that watershed episode, Povich pondered a much larger question (When Women Said No 12/31/12 pp. 4450):
Were we ahead of the times or just reflecting the times? (p. 48)
That is always the million-dollar question, now isnt it? Povich raises the proverbial inquiry to us allAre we on the crest of the wave or are we just catching it after it hits the beach? Which is it?
The vanguard business leader is ahead of the times. The mediocre business leader may just be reflecting the times. I think in many cases it is a bit of a combination of both.
Being ahead of the times is where we all want to be as business leaders. Our strategies and plans bring maximum profit when that occurs. Nevertheless, there is no dishonor in merely reflecting the times. Reflecting the times at least communicates you are up to the times. The unforgiveable sin is to be behind the times. Go there, and your customers will disappear.
As businesspeople, we can all benefit from Povichs question. Apply it to your situation today. Are you ahead of the times or just reflecting the times? Pay close attention to the answer.
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