Season 4: Thriving in a changing world

Tiffani Manabat General Manager and Executive Producer, Imaginary Forces

How to stay 10 steps ahead during change

The business world is always changing. We’ve seen hybrid business models revolutionise how we work, AI integration expand the toolbelt for creativity and more meaningful work, and lifelong learning grow our services. The truth is, businesses that resist change risk being left behind. So what can you do to stay 10 steps ahead?

Take it from us
We’ve experienced major change throughout our 25-year history at LA-based design company Imaginary Forces. From our entertainment focus to a wide variety of verticals, we’ve navigated shifts from broadcast to streaming and the emergence of AI. But we’ve always tried to stay ahead of the change curve. Here’s how you can too:

Be proactive
By taking a proactive approach, you canplan to adapt, evolve, and innovate so you are always ready when change happens. That way, it’s not another hill to climb; it’s just another day at the office.

Study the strengths of your company
Double down on areas of your business that show growth. When you build a business centred around your core expertise, you can use this consistent success as a building block to weather storms or support the development of new offerings.

Get clear on your identity
Gathering this information will help you refine your sales, business development, and marketing strategies. A clear identity will resonate with colleagues and clients – attracting more of the work you want.

When you know your strengths…tell everyone at scale
Create brand awareness wherever you can. Craft your messaging, shape your story, and let everyone know what you bring to the table.

Think like a small business
Small businesses can pivot quickly and make impactful decisions. In periods of significant disruption, you have to act decisively so the rest of your team can move forward. You will empower your team while building confidence in your leadership – both are vital for navigating change.

Embrace collaborative decision-making
Collaborative decision-making fosters buy-in, collective problem-solving, and creative solutions. On the flip side, when you have buy-in from the team, they shoulder the burden of failure. But now you have a united team facing the challenge together with resilience.

Take a personal approach
Personalization isn’t something our clients want; it’s something they expect. Think about the last time you cleared your computer cookies. Your browser no longer knows you. Immediate irritation, right? Clients love consistency, connection, and understanding, which leads to long-lasting relationships, loyalty, and trust.

Strive for innovation
So how else do we stay ahead of the change curve? It all comes down to the work and creativity. We have a talented group of humans who are constantly innovating, taking risks, and trying new ways of working to get better results for our clients. Innovation allows us to set the bar for design excellence that we are known for.

As a leader, you’re a steward for the company, the team, the clients, and the work. Try to look 10 steps ahead so you are ready to respond to new situations. Because when you plan for it, change becomes a normal part of the working day.