The end of an era

end of an era, time for changeIt has been a local draw for 54 years for those driving up and down the interstate. A place to stop and get a bite, and stretch your legs before continuing the journey. But with major development in the works, the location was about to experience a number of changes. So, the owners decided to sell the location and move on to a new adventure.  It is the end of an era, but also the start of a new one.

Change comes in a number of ways. Sometimes it is welcome, other times it is forced on us. How are you keeping an eye out to adjust directions when it is the right time for you?

Why is it easier for startups to disrupt?

why is it easier for start ups to disruptStartups typically exist because there is a need that is not being met. Businesses either don’t listen to what is creating dissatisfaction from customers or are so wed to the current structure, system or process that it doesn’t move to address the need. Startups are not encumbered by the past. They don’t have prior investments weighing them down. They don’t have a massive change initiative to redirect focus. They just need to enter the market and move quickly.

What does that mean for companies that are being threatened by disruptive forces? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Investment decisions should not be made on the basis of sunk costs. If you need to invest to innovate and compete, history should not weigh you down.
  • Decision making should be rapid and effective
  • The culture should be adaptive and innovative

How are you creating a culture in your organization that allows you to be agile and decisive? How are you looking for disruption in your industry?

Is your data leading you to the wrong conclusions?

Is your data leading you to the wrong conclusion?Have you ever started receiving advertising from a business that makes you scratch your head? You would never use the product they are targeting for you in personalized ads. I had that happen to me recently and realized the data they were using was leading them to the wrong conclusion.

I wear a night guard for my teeth. Every morning, I take it out, rinse it off and drop it in a container with denture cleaner to clean it. So, it was a surprise when I was barraged with advertising for a variety of denture related items because I don’t wear dentures. Clearly, their data that shows I buy denture cleaner led them to the wrong conclusion.

How are you using data in your organization? Do you have a mechanism in place that keeps you from drawing the wrong conclusion from the data?

What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for?Thanksgiving is this week in the United States. People get together with friends and family to share the bounty of the season. It is a good time to reflect on what we are thankful for both personally and professionally and express our gratitude. What are you thankful for?

It’s not that I can actually do it, I just feel like I can

believe you canAs we walked to our cars after Zumba, Pam spoke about what a great class it was. The instructor is always upbeat and has such tremendous enthusiasm and joy for what she does. So much so, that it becomes infectious for those taking the class. I agreed. I always have a great time and get a great workout. But, there are a few moves I just don’t have down yet. Pam agreed. That’s when she said, “I feel like I can.”

She went on to say that the whole experience is so uplifting that even though she doesn’t have all the moves down, the instructor creates an environment that makes her believe that she can, and even feels like she does. Wow! Can you imagine that customer experience everywhere you go? The experience is so welcoming and inclusive that your perception of the experience is an 11 out of 10. How are you creating that experience for your customers and your team?

Do you know when your market is about to turn?

do you know when your market will turn?There has been a string of great news about the economy. Unemployment has been going down, labor participation rate is up, and businesses continue to have cash to invest and are investing it. In fact, there are a number of banks and high profile periodicals that believe we may be in the longest period of economic expansion ever. At some point, the expansion will end. Are you prepared for it? Do you have a set of economic metrics that indicate when your market is turning? Do you have a plan for how you handle market expansions and market contractions? If you don’t have an eye on these, it is time to start planning so you know what levers to pull and when.

Getting a word in

can you get a word in?It was meant to be a discussion around the table, a dialogue to further the understanding of the group. The discussion leader asked people not to raise their hands, rather, just ask a question or throw out a thought. It always seems like a good way to handle a conversation, rather than making it an academic exercise. As the discussion proceeded, people began to ask questions or further the point before the person finished speaking. He wasn’t rambling and was concise. To get a word in, you had to stop listening and think about what you were going to say.

How often does this happen in your meetings? Are you getting only the thoughts of the people who jump in first? Or are you making a conscious effort to include all of the people who have something to say? If you don’t let people finish their thoughts, you may not get key points. How are you creating an environment where everyone get a word in?

The Dedicated Fan

the dedicated fanHe parks his truck on the same overpass. Always dressed in Seattle Seahawks garb, he waves a “12” flag taller than him back and forth, periodically stopping to wave at the cars that drive by below. He has been there on and off for years, his dedication to his team never wavering. He clearly epitomizes the fan that the Seahawks retired the number 12 to recognize.

Can you imagine if you had this type of fan singing your praises not just to everyone he knows, but also to everyone that passes by? People tell others about their experiences, good and bad. How are you creating dedicated fans that sing your praises to everyone they know?

Are you managing your business like a news cycle?

are you managing your business like a news cycle?Hurricanes, earthquakes, shootings, fires, missile launches. There have been major events all over the world over the last two months. They are important and attract major news attention. For a day, or a week at most. And then the news cycle ends and the topic of the day moves to the top of the news cycle. The major issues that attracted so much attention become all but forgotten. It is not because the situation has been resolved. It is simply a matter of a new topic catching the attention of the news cycle, even if the subject is of lesser importance.

It is important not to manage your business like a news cycle. Meetings, email, phone calls, etc. are frequent consumers of time and attention. They can be a constant stream of new stuff, just like the news cycle. But are they really the right place to spend the bulk of your time? How are you making sure you are spending your time on the things that will move your business forward?

Counter surfing

counter surfing. don't be afraidIt has been just over a year since I adopted my dog. She was incredibly timid and had lots of anxiety when I got her. So when she started counter surfing last week I had mixed emotions. There is an art to counter surfing. The dog waits until the coast is clear then helps themself to the tasty morsel on the counter that calls out to them. No one wants their dog to counter surf. It is totally unacceptable. But, I was happy that she feels comfortable and is coming into herself. She saw what she wanted and she went for it. She was no longer held back by anxiety and fear. She just went for it. In business, there are so many things that can hold us back from going for it. Whether it is a growth initiative or introducing a new product, or hiring key people, what is holding you back from going for it?