The Writing On the Wall….What Do You See?

Most people love to read Dilbert. It invites us to laugh about other employees and how they see themselves as well as what they say. Same goes for the show, “The Office” where we find lots to laugh about because we also see the same hysterical drama within where we work.

Now with the Pandemic, where most have been required to work from home, many are loving it. In many cases, a company’s employees have been more productive at home versus at the office. Could it be because there are less distractions, less drama, less negative feedback, that employees can be more productive?

The question is, “What are you seeing written on the wall?” that you can communicate to your team?  Or as I like to say, where do you see this movie you are watching, ending? Maybe it is more of what would you like to see the ending to look like? As business leaders, we are only as good as our vision of where the company needs to go and our vision is only as good as how we know what the trends, the signs, are showing us.

We all know when we understand trends, we are able to see the puzzle, picture, end result or movie per se with clarity, which is why we must be watching a number of variables. This includes but is not inclusive of things like social and political factors, technological advancements, buying habits, and the city environment where the business resides. Some would call seeing what our competitors are doing is trend watching but, this is trying to stay up with the Joneses. It is about me too instead of about being the one making the rules of competition. There are some interesting trends happening right now that show the snowball is getting bigger and faster. This is one of the reasons I write this blog. I desire each of you to be more successful tomorrow than today.

Those of you watching trends, know things haven’t really been the same for the past 5-10 years. Then we get this pandemic called COVID-19 which has ignited some companies to thrive at an increased rate. These companies are changing the way we play the game of business more than ever before. You might even be thinking, Duh, yes, we understand business 101 that companies will come and they will go. However, how many of us could say, we saw it coming under our watch and we were determined to thrive? I hope you can say you are a part of one of these thriving companies, but I will have to admit, I come across many well-established small and large companies that do not understand how to play the Game of Business or do not care. 

The phrase, “Game of Business” makes me think of competitive ways to win, doing what those I am competing with are not doing, changing the rules of the game, etc. Some of the landscape changers are those in NASDAQ. 

The movers and shakers are companies like: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and a few others. The entrepreneur spirit is alive and well in these companies and they have found a way to keep thriving. This understanding that the true source of seeing trends is knowing what the customer is really wanting, then meeting the customers’ expectations.  

During the COVID-19 isolation period, there were other companies, less thought of as thriving, that made great strides to capture new customers, companies like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart that have become determined to thrive. Their growth success was seeing trends thus investing in appropriate technology and having the cash on hand. This cash allowed them to quickly complete their technology solutions and implement new processes faster than their competitors to help them leapfrog, yes, leapfrog to new heights while meeting their customer needs, the way the customer wanted to buy.

I have noticed a new trend recently. There are a number of companies trying to hire employees to help understand customer needs and then find solutions to meet their customer needs. This is obvious and what the movers and shakers have been doing for years. This is business 101. What is interesting is that these hiring companies are using the same approach companies have used for years. Things are changing faster and faster and the old processes learned in college or in seminars across the country will not keep a company up with those with a thriving business plan. Sure, the old way can save a customer here and there but…There are ways to obtain this information in a more automated way that can also decrease time and expenses to support each customer, while increasing other efficiencies and achieving raving fans.

This writing on the wall that I have been reading is that each of us do not have the time we had 10 years ago or even 5 years ago to play the Game of Business in the same old way. As Jim Collins wrote in “Built to Last”, we must find ways to make the flywheel move faster and faster. 

To compete going forward and thrive we need to consider:

  • Determining what the customer’s needs are. Again, this should be more automated than a person calling, talking and meeting with each customer. I am not saying to stop personally talking to your customers because the importance of making relationships will never go away. I am saying new rules on how to play this game need to be created and you might as well be the creator of these new rules.   
  • Creating an agile team for watching and finding trends. Some companies might call this a “Think Tank”. I encourage you to use a group of employees that understand your specific business while watching outside forces to come up with trends for new service offerings. 
  • Bringing more money to the bottom line. Most companies are leaving 15-30% cash, on the table across many areas of their business. If stockholders only knew. There are multiple ways to accomplish this goal that  are not difficult to implement and that can increase the amount of cash in the bank for strategic leapfrog moves. 
  • Setting aside our kingdoms and ego’s so that they do not hinder us from seeing the reality of a trend that can take our companies to new heights. It is easy to rationalize away the truth that is right in front of us.
  • Last but not least, your company has to make a decision that it will become a company that thrives! It is your mission to build a culture of people, processes, products, or services that are all about meeting the customers’ needs. 

I look forward to seeing your name on the list of companies that take thriving literally!! 

2020-09-23T16:12:51-06:00

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