When You Aim for the Moon, Your Biggest Competition is You and the Status Quo
Yes. You heard us right. Most leaders rarely identify themselves as their biggest competitor. But it’s true. Running your business as usual and relying on the status quo represents playing it safe.
And, in today’s business environment, when you are planning your company’s “moon shot” your biggest worry shouldn’t be what your competitors are doing – the stakes are way too high for that.
Taking-on monumental challenges requires focus on your long-term vision. It means a thoughtful, purposeful, and dare we say, strategic approach to understand where to go next and how to make the necessary bold moves with confidence.
When Uncertainty Creeps In
In the last 10-years, most companies have done pretty well with top-line revenues and the short-term metrics that are currently favored. Along the way, uncertainty tends to play a strong part in leadership’s decision-making process that typically leads to complacency and pushing long-term planning and investment to back burner status.
Because, when life is good and the sentiment of making hay while we can is all too pervasive of a mindset. Let’s face it, when the good times are rolling, focusing on the long-term health of the organization is challenging.
Even in our so-called “good” economy of late, topics like digital transformation and change management have created uncertainty. Emerging technologies of data science, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality customer experiences and even autonomous vehicles cause elevated levels of stress, and thus, give pause to moving forward with any effective velocity.
When uncertainty creeps in, the desire to play it safe is sure to follow. Only a curious and counter-intuitive leader and/or culture will be prepared to triumph. To achieve your long-term goals and overcoming the massive challenges your team will face along the way, your team will need to rise above many adverse situations.
How to AdversifyTM Your Organization
Has your team or your organization been tested lately? Seriously. Really, truly tested? We surely hope they have, but more than likely, over the past decade of a strong economy, they haven’t.
After speaking with a number of companies this year, we identified three core areas that can help leadership teams develop and promote a culture that is optimally prepared to demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity.
Three Keys to Adversification:
Below are three key areas worth your attention to foster a positive reaction to new challenges, battle your own internal status quo mentality and, adapt new technologies and techniques…
1.) Tribal Knowledge:
Tribal Knowledge is a good attribute for companies to have, but relying on it too much of the time is not. It is often a double-edged sword that serves to advance short-term wins at the expense of impeding the long-term mechanisms of progress.
Organizations need to be able to establish a proper balance. One way to do that is through the introduction of collaborating data sessions – sharing different data points and discussing various insights with all stakeholders.
This varies for every organization but it is a required step to ensure there is not an over-reliance on the “old way” of doing things, nor an over-zealous drive to throw away previous success-based experiences and expertise – simply to jump to the newest set of best practices.
2.) Inside-out and Outside-in Perspective:
Part of the collaborative data sharing sessions should include a 360-degree view of your customers’ experience.
With this practice, organizations and their respective leadership teams must be able to remain objective. That means making sure the company is aligned top to bottom with the short and long-term vision. Additionally, that vision must align with the customers’ perspectives and overall needs.
3.) Attractiveness vs. Ability2Win:
The last point to consider when Adversifying is analyzing existing and new business opportunities with a matrix of Attractiveness vs. the Ability2Win.
This is an effective and proven process to create a higher level of trust between Sales and Marketing teams by injecting a higher level of objectivity when evaluating business opportunities.
In this initiative, anecdotal rationale should no longer be given a higher degree of gravitas than data-based evidence. Having said that, nor should it be discarded as complete and utter rubbish. The key is to find a healthy balance that is right for your organization.
You Are Not Alone but You Can Still Be One in a Million
As business leaders, remember, you are not alone. Many of the challenges you face are similar. How you and your organization choose to solve these challenges is where the real differences lie.
The successful companies are the ones who learn how to go beyond the convention of business as usual. The ones who can effectively adversify, well, they are the ones who know what it means to go to the moon – for they choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.