With countries around the world beginning to open their economies, businesses opening their doors again and consumers venturing out, now is the time to capture and secure any changes to your business that will enable a stronger future. Miss this opportunity and this fleeting chance may be lost forever.
Active Knowledge Question:
Have you been able to change the way things are done in your business during this time of economic pause and social distancing that otherwise would not have been possible?
In an earlier article, ‘Press Pause – Opportunities That May Not Come Again’, I spoke to the importance of not allowing a ‘stunned-mullet’ effect to take hold in your business and to ensure that you consider how this economic-pause may seed the opportunity to re-make your business. There were five broad areas, doorways to improved performance, highlighted:
- New ways of working and connecting
- Agility developing exponentially
- Creativity and Innovation abound
- Purpose is prominent
- Customers developing new habits.
It was a call to look beyond the immediate challenges that the lockdown was imposing to your traditional business, to discover a way forward to sustain the business and importantly a path to emerge stronger.
With economies now opening, it is time to capture and secure changes to your business which otherwise may not be possible.
The scope and impact of the COVID-19 has challenged everyone around the globe in ways which most would not have experienced before. The ‘rule-book’ so to say has been tossed out, and everyone has had to move into unfamiliar territory and adapt to new ways of thinking and doing.
They have had to accept change that otherwise they may have resisted and thought as being not the way of doing things. While this ‘door’ to experimentation is open, you must move and seize it because it will close.
Urgency always opens the door to rapid change, but it will not stay open once that need to act is weakened. Human nature, which likes pattern, will quickly revert to established ways given the opportunity.
So how do you move now? Draw your key people together, examine and question those five doorways noted above and don’t release them from the task until you are satisfied that every area, every aspect of strategy and performance has been pulled apart and rebuilt.
In ‘Allowing Your Imagination To Find Opportunities For Growth’, I noted that ‘without even knowing it, we often miss the greatest opportunities for growth simply by the way we look for those opportunities’.
The capability to ‘pull apart and rebuild’ every aspect of your business requires a fundamental change to the way your team thinks. When searching for growth and performance opportunities, how far will you allow the self-image and vision you hold of your business to stretch.?
The ability/capability to step away from your business and deconstruct it, will either be the driver of growth or a locked box from which you cannot escape. Make sure you are not the one who has locked the box and tossed away the key.
Here is a snapshot (extract) of some principles for unlocking the box, which are considered in more detail in the above-cited article:
It starts with the individual:
- The actions we take as individuals are closely related to survival, and survival on our own terms.
- A basic aim is to improve our capacity for independent action, and the degree to which we cooperate, or compete, with others is driven by the need to satisfy this basic goal.
- In a real-world of limited resources and skills, individuals and groups form, dissolve and reform their cooperative or competitive postures in a continuous struggle to remove or overcome obstacles to reach their goals.
- This ‘cooperation’ represents an improved capacity for independent action for all concerned but requires the making of decisions and the taking of actions, over and over again, in many different ways.
It moves to mental concepts:
- To make these timely decisions implies that you are able to form mental concepts of observed reality – as you perceive it – and are able to change these concepts as reality itself appears to change.
- To develop and manipulate these mental concepts, you can either go from general to specific or specific to general, that is:
- Deduction: start from a comprehensive whole and break it into its parts in a process of analysis and differentiation, or
- Induction: start from the parts and builds towards a comprehensive whole in a process of synthesis and integration.
There is destructive deduction:
- Consider a comprehensive whole, a domain, for example, a customer group and their needs, the products/services you supply, whom you compete with, the basis of competition and everything else in that marketplace.
- In your business, there are probably many domains, all of which you have developed concepts of meaning for representing your observed reality.
- You can also create domains in your imagination, as we do when we think of new products, customer groups and markets.
- If you were to break all these actual and imagined domains down into their individual parts, you would probably end up with something like anarchy.
- But what you have done is commenced a process of ‘unstructuring’ through deduction, analysis and differentiation.
And there is constructive/creative induction:
- Faced with such disorder and chaos, you need to reconstruct order and meaning, which you can do through induction, synthesis and integration to create a new domain.
- A new concept, a mental model, can be formed by threading common qualities, attributes and operations together to create a new meaning.
This process of ‘unstructuring’ and restructuring represents a way of changing your perception of reality or, to put it into business terms, break down the paradigms that may exist.
But it also requires a unifying thread that may be used to link or discard the individual parts before you to create the new meaning. This unifying thread is the cord of creativity that you weave in creating the new meaning, and it is anchored in competitiveness and developing a competitive posture. That is, delivering a new value offering to existing or new customers in a completely new structure. You have created a new domain and, in doing so, have probably created a ‘blue ocean’ and left your competitors wondering what to do next.
In approaching this process of destructive deduction and constructive/creative induction, you need a reference point, an end goal so to say. That goal must be customer value and improving that value beyond where anyone else can compete. Neither cost-reduction nor profit-first, as goals will achieve the long-term performance outcomes required to lift your business out this economic-pause and into a level of performance beyond anything you ever had achieved.
There is a key to unlocking the potential that resides in your business, and that rests in not just your ability to engage and ignite the passion in your leadership team but for that energy to flow through to everyone in your business. Note, it is a passion that arises out of purpose and that purpose can never be self-interest.
Your business is the sum of all the people who work within and with it. Its success rests with how well you engage with them to draw their combined talents and efforts to the forefront. Fail to do this well, and your business will never achieve its potential.
How you, and your leadership team, interact with others daily will have a profound effect on your personal and business success. But often our default setting undermines rather underpins our potential and success.
In building the leadership team of your business, you must look first to character and then only competency and experience of your leaders. In today’s competitive marketplace where success is dependent upon the ‘combined talent and effort’ of everyone who works within and with your business, the right character in your leaders is more critical than ever before.
The full potential of that combined talent and effort will only be drawn to the forefront by leaders who are givers and uplifters. Understanding this distinction will allow you to strengthen the competitive fitness of your business.
Coming out of this economic-pause, it will more important than ever before to unlock a culture of giving and uplifting and never taking or suppressing. This must be seeded and exhibited from leadership, upheld through process and rewards, and become who you are as a business.
There is that expression that is so true ‘who dares wins’. In emerging from the economic-pause are you going to slide back into your old ways of doing things or are you going to use it as a springboard to build a business greater than it ever was, or could have been. Now is the time to deconstruct and rebuild your business.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,