When the future arrives, will you still be a relevant competitor in your industry?
Plenty of companies large and small have said yes and been VERY WRONG about that.
To stay competitive is to be committed to remaking yourself and your company. This remake is in incremental and more dramatic ways.
The Decline of BlackBerry
Well, that is certainly comforting!
Several years ago when you said smart phone, you thought Blackberry. Now the CEO wants to convince us they can survive! See how fast things can change?
The management of RIM/Blackberry put the company in this bind because they missed the remaking of the industry. They did not allocate enough time and resources to competing for the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of the future consumer! For some reason, they thought Blackberry would continue to reign supreme. Today Mr. Heins and his team need to demonstrate bold and effective leadership and management if they expect to survive and become relevant again.
Ask yourself, how are you doing in competing for tomorrow’s customer? You cannot rest on your laurels. The 14th Key in the 15 Keys to Building a Quality Long-term Organization is “Do you have a Commitment to Continuous Improvement?”
How to Prepare for the Future
As a strategic business consultant, I can tell you there are specific steps you need to take to prepare for the future.
- Change your mind set. Make a commitment to improving, personally and professionally, every day. What made you successful today may not work tomorrow.
- Allocate at least 20% of your time to thinking about and implementing basic improvements to the organization. There are incremental improvements and logical product extensions and additions to your core business
- These improvement will be clear IF you actively engage your employees, customers, and suppliers in the process of improvement
- Valuing new ideas must become a part of your culture with a specific process of evaluation.
- Allocate at least 10% of your time to visualize dramatic shifts that may take place in your industry that could impact your products/services, delivery mechanism, competitors and more. Common terms for this process are called “out-of-the-box thinking” or “boundaryless thinking”.
- Be bold in your ideas.
- Get insight from new and different people for this process. New ideas rarely come from the same people that are immersed in the day-to-day business.
- Test these ideas. Discard the bad, further test the good and start the process over with new bold ideas.
The Challenge of Preparing for the Future
There are a few things that make preparing for the future so challenging
- Finding the Time – Given the day-to-day stress and grind, it seems difficult to make the future a priority. Future preparation is like allocating time to exercise or to spend time with family. You just have to do it!
- A Different Skill Set – Running a business is about making decisions and follow-through. The strategic thinking process is totally different. There are no clear end-of-the day wins and losses to tally. As a result, you should make this a very separate process that is not intermixed with your regular day. Many companies separate new product development so the ideas don’t get killed under the weight of day-to-day business needs and traditional thinking.
One of my favorite quotes sums up my view of preparing for the future. It is from retired Major General Eric Shinseki, “If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less”.
Need help in separating the future from the present? Contact us. We offer strategic business consulting, executive business coaching, and professional management training to help accelerate you down the path to success.
No one can do it alone! You need to broaden your view. You don’t know what it is you don’t know!