I had the opportunity recently to hear Mr Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, share the following story.

Mr Ma was in Beijing during winter, and he noticed a dead duck, frozen in a lake.  It was deep winter.  The duck could not have been the only creature around, but its companions in summer would all have flown south to avoid the cold winter.  The duck might have been playing too much and not moving on in good time to prepare for the coming season.

Mr Ma’s point was that entrepreneurs have to understand their situation in similar vein. Entrepreneurs must change in good time. They must adjust to the environment and evolving conditions. Failing to do so would see them end up as “dead ducks”.

Change should be seen as opportunity rather than threat. Being alert to changing situations is absolutely necessary for entrepreneurs who want to succeed. Similarly for leaders of organisations.

As mentioned on Page 155 of “The Leader, The Teacher & You”, leaders must seek all the time to make sure that their organisations are “in time for the future” by ensuring that the company has the strategic perspective, market awareness, equipment, technology, ambition, imagination, as well as the human capital to be sustainably successful moving into the future.

Failure to anticipate the future is the most frequent cause of failure. The more successful an organisation, the greater the chances its people will be so proud and comfortable they are surprised by events they have not prepared for.

Success today does not guarantee success tomorrow.  Keep moving and changing to be in time for the future…don’t be a dead duck!


P.S.: You might also like to watch a video that Mr Jack Ma specially recorded for the Honour International Symposium, in which he shares his views about Honour and its importance for success in business:


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