About a year ago, I was in California and was provided the opportunity to drive what many people considered at the time to be the future. It was an almost brand-new Tesla Model S.
Many of you know that I am an absolute car guy. No blood in the veins, just pure 10W-40. There was no hesitation or thinking twice about this decision. I was direct and to the point. “Absolutely,” I responded, “let’s go!” I did not want them to change their mind.
Once in the vehicle, I was overwhelmed by the interior. I love analog everything (that’s because I’m old and a purist), but wait! There was nothing analog, just a big computer screen right at the center console and dashboard junction. The entire vehicle was commanded from this iPad-looking screen. My acceptance to change was really being tested here. Off we went on the exhilarating ride of a lifetime.
I’ve been fortunate in my career to drive some pretty cool vehicles from many eras. I can honestly say this one challenged my senses for the top spot. It was eerily quiet but had great road ability. Handling was agile but still had a presence of luxury. Acceleration? Well, it was just short of mind-bending. Frankly, I was taken by surprise. The power transfer and torque of the electric motors was astounding. I walked away thinking that my view of battery-powered electric vehicles had changed forever.
Fast forward to last month. There was article after article about Tesla’s falling stock price. Several issues were cited as the cause. First was a consumer report that said there may be things-gone-wrong issues with early owners. However, early owners reported a 97-percent ownership satisfaction rating, so that does not seem like a logical set of indicators to me. Secondly, there was a belief that due to falling gas prices, the future value of electric vehicle manufacturing may be in question.
So let’s get this straight: 97-percent owner satisfaction is bad, and fuel prices will be low forever. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying either of those. I’m not saying Tesla is the answer or that electric vehicles are either, but I do believe change is inevitable. What we know today is not what the future will look like. In business, we need to accept and navigate change and not follow short-term setbacks or aberrations. Even if doing that makes us feel better for a time, reality will march right by us.
Keep your eyes on the future and plan for a successful business transition to it…whatever it is.