Getting off the fence

I had a God moment yesterday, one of those life events or circumstances that prompts the Twilight Zone theme music and makes you stop and think about the feeling of being somehow connected.

Allie and I returned from grocery shopping late in the day and pulled into our customary parking place at our apartment complex. Across the lot, a boy in the 10–12 year old age range appeared to be stuck on top of the chain link fence separating the complex and a large accounting firm next door. His jeans were caught on one of the barbs, and he was having difficulty moving either leg. A friend sat on the ground beneath the fence playing with a stick. We both looked at each other and said, “He’s in trouble.”

So I got out of the car and called to the kid, asking if he needed help. He looked at me sheepishly and nodded. I jogged over to him and explained that, well, this kind of thing happens to all boys sooner or later, and that I’d get him down. His arms were shacking badly, and I had no idea how long he’d been there or what he had hoped to accomplish in climbing the 7‑foot fence. I grabbed him by the butt and lifted him off the spokes. He leaned backwards and lifted his legs. In a moment he was on the ground, and he and his buddy were on their way. I think he muttered “thanks,” but it didn’t matter.

As I walked back to the car to help with the groceries, it occurred to me that helping people off the fence is exactly what I’m trying to do with my business (and life). Broadcasters are stuck on the fence between the old and the new. It doesn’t matter how they got there or what they’re trying to do to extricate themselves. The point is they’re stuck on the fence and they need to get off.

Let me add that the fence for broadcasters is an illusion, and that not to decide is itself a decision. In a paradigm of disruptive innovations, the linear movement from point A to point B is very real. Therefore, standing still is just as bad as moving backwards.

It’s time to get off the fence.

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