Be Relevant

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A week ago, I was listening to a business show on radio and I learned of the collapse of Thomas Cook. Who would have thought that a big brand such as Thomas Cook would join the likes of Kodak in the abyss of history? Who thought that Blockbuster stores would vanish into thin air?

The next slot on the same program was the interview with a shop-steward from the banking sector. The focus was on the potential losses of thousands of jobs due to the 4th Industrial Revolution. I guess this is a discussion for another day about how workplaces prepare their employees for the current and future revolutions,  especially in South Africa.

At that point I reflected on a number of questions that may also be important to you:

  • How do you position yourself for the future?
  • What makes you significant to your employer now and in the future?
  • What keeps your customers committed to you?
  • How do you make your products and services relevant?

The difficulty with most of us is thinking that we will always be relevant even if we remain the same. We think that the future is somewhere far in the distance and we should not do anything about it. In our minds, the change will happen to others and not to us because, for some reason, we are immune.

This type of thinking has rendered big brands such as Thomas Cook, BlockBuster, Kodak and many others irrelevant. The music scene is littered with one-hit wonders who we never heard of after the release of the first song. Why? Kevin Keller has the answer when he says that “any timeless brand innovates and stays relevant., but a fad brand doesn’t stay relevant”

How can you stay relevant and not become a fad brand? 

  • Be authentic: your authenticity is rooted in understanding your strengths,  values and staying true to your convictions. You can be relevant by staying true to who you are. Once you are real, you are able to step into the world with confidence and openness.
  • Listen and act on advice: being open and amenable to new advice opens you to new perspectives. The common thread with companies that failed to innovate was shunning advice. There are many stories: The CEO of Yahoo refused to buy Google. Xerox went down when the management felt it would be expensive to go digital.
  • Growth mindset: you need to be clear, deliberate and intentional about growing. It is about looking forward to opportunities and challenges with excitement. A growth mindset means I will try until I succeed.
  • Pioneering: People who are prepared to see beyond their limitations are never trapped by their present circumstances. They are trailblazers for the development of new methods and new ways of doing things. If you develop new standards of doing things, you cannot become irrelevant.

The ability to innovate and adapt is a critical way to remain relevant.   Doing the opposite leads to stagnation. You should not allow yourself to be forgotten because you failed to remain relevant.

Tex Hlalele is a Personal Mastery, Leadership & Organisational Effectiveness Specialist. Book Tex to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement on +2764 656 6174 or visit He is the author of the book, Face the person in the mirror.

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