“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

So shouted Howard Beale, the beleaguered TV anchor in the 1976 film Network, urging his TV audience to proclaim to the world their anger and dissatisfaction of current social conditions by yelling this phrase out from their windows to protest against all of the injustices cast upon them.

It was great drama. Beale’s dialogue before and after this outburst was both brilliant and prescient. It listed a litany of social and economic problems facing the country and it called for drastic changes. Grievances existed then and many of the same problems still exist today. It is this underlying anger of being forgotten and left out of economic and social opportunities to make a better life that helped elect another TV personality to the office of president.

Small businesses have their own list of culprits that confront and challenge their existence. They include: global competition, technological advances, trade imbalances, a mismatch of skills, the tax system, housing prices, factory shutdowns, excessive regulation, Wall Street pressure, the erosion of labor unions, immigration policy and more.

Challenging conditions evolve over time. Spurred on by the explosion of digital technology, the utility of the internet, and the vast improvements in manufacturing processes and efficiencies in logistics, the business environment has changed enormously. Thomas L. Friedman writes, “We’re moving into a world where computers and algorithms can analyze (reveal previously hidden patterns); optimize (tell a plane which altitude to fly each mile to get the best fuel efficiency); prophesize (tell you when your elevator will break or what your customer is likely to buy); customize (tailor any product or service for you alone); and digitize and automatize more and more products and services. Any company that doesn’t deploy all six elements will struggle, and this is changing every job and industry.”

Corporate health depends upon operating in an environment where unfavorable influences can be neutralized and converted to assets. Companies and employees have the burden to make the necessary changes and modifications to accomplish them. Only when all of the facts surrounding a situation are disclosed, can change be contemplated and negotiated.

Although change can and does occur, advocates for an acceptable solution must argue the benefits to both parties to find substantive changes. Companies must carefully reflect on their purpose of being in business and make sure that any changes to the business don’t subvert the purpose of the company. Change and progress often leaves behind a trail of obsolescence. People become obsolete when they do not adapt to new technology. Companies and employees sign their own death warrant by either not enhancing their personal skill set through training or education, or by refusing to learn a new set of skills for a different kind of job. People must be learners throughout their entire lives to stay in tune with the world. Those that refuse to adapt by learning will most likely be shouting their anger out of windows.

The education consultant Heather McGowan explains, “Now that the velocity of change has accelerated, due to a combination of exponential growth in technology and globalization, learning can no longer be a set dose of education consumed in the first one-third of one’s life.” In this age of accelerations, “the new killer skill set is an agile mind-set that values learning over knowing.”

Companies have a responsibility to adapt to the changes that influence them. As companies grow, their need for space utilities, manpower and transportation all affect the community and its resources. Being a good citizen is essential. Participating in community or neighborhood contributes to local harmony. Employees entrust their livelihood with their employers. Investing in their future with the company is essential., technology, regulations, and competition.