Do you remember the time when you realized there are no more “do overs”? At some point as a child, we realize we can no longer just yell “do over!”

Having consulted with companies around the world, I have realized many professionals substitute “do over” with “coulda, woulda, shoulda”. We soon realize that, too, is a waste of time.

What is not a waste of time, however, is taking the time to think strategically — looking at what is and what could be and then formulating a plan to get you there. This eliminates the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” and replaces it with proactive strategic thinking.

I think back to 1994, when we started our business. There really was no such thing as the Internet. In the mid-90s, if a business owner was to assemble their management team and discuss Internet strategy, most likely the management team would have applied pre-Internet concepts to a brand-new situation.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened. Companies created a static electronic brochure. This makes perfect sense since everything up to that point looked like a brochure. That is what the management team knew, so that is what they used for a new situation.

What if you knew then what you know now? Would your Internet strategy have been different? Would your business be farther ahead? Would you have been more of a pioneer and leveraged this incredible new technology? How many businesses out there would like to have a do over? Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

It is very clear that some folks did “get it” — those are the folks we call dot-com billionaires. They saw the potential and did not go with the old “tried and true.” They applied new thinking and new concepts to a new situation.

Believe it or not, we are seeing the same things happening today, as it relates to leaning on the “tried and true.” Management teams are applying the same concepts to developing their new leaders as they did in the 20th century. It is simply human nature. People assume what worked in the past will work in the future.

That is simply not the case, and never has been. The old adage of “the only constant is change” could not be more true in the business world. In the 21st century, if a business wants to attract and retain the best talent available, using 20th-century techniques simply will not work. The 21st-century workforce needs 21st-century solutions.

Just like in 1995, the solution to this thing called “the Internet” was not reformulating ideas from the 70s. Attracting and retaining your company’s future leaders is an identical situation. Using concepts developed 25 or 30 years ago will not work for the 21st-century employee.